Monday, October 03, 2005
First Tool Usage in Wild Gorillas Discovered
Our relatives are evolving. Like to hear how Creation Science, Intelligent Design, and all the other theistic deniers of evolution explain that.
One small step for Leah is a giant leap for wild gorillas
Now, for the first time, scientists have observed and photographed wild gorillas using tools, including the moment Leah - the nickname used by scientists - used a stick to test the depth of a pool before wading into it. Until she wielded her wading stick in a swamp, all other species of great apes, including chimpanzees, bonobos and orang-utans, have been observed using tools in the wild, but never gorillas. "This is a truly astounding discovery," said Dr Thomas Breuer of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig."Tool usage in wild apes provides us with valuable insights into the evolution of our own species and the abilities of other species. Seeing it for the first time in gorillas is important on many different levels," Thomas Breuer, lead researcher of the Wildlife Conservation Society, said in a statement. On two separate occasions in the northern rain forests of the Republic of Congo, researchers observed and photographed individual western gorillas using sticks as tools, according to the study.
No need to postulate the existence of Intelligent Design or some disembodied God in the evolution of the species. The cognition of our nearest relatives, is being influenced over the centuries as they 'discover' and 'adapt' tool making.
The outrage is that they are still being poached and killed for their land, as meat, for their pelts, and in war zones like Rawanda. They are still treated as 'dumb' animals as native peoples were treated as 'savages'. 'brutes' by European colonialism.
Like the impact of Imperialism on indigienous peoples, the Gorrilas are subject to the effects of Speciesism in their mountain regions.
And speciesism is a result of the monotheistic dictum that Man is Created in the image of God (singular, male) and has dominion/domination of all the fish, fowl and beasts of the planet.
Let's note here as well that it is a FEMALE gorilla that has made this discovery. Tool making is not neccasarily a MALE occupation or discovery, This is also astounding in its obviousness and in the obvious obliviousness that male scientists have to this fact. Like our ancient ancestors being discovered around the world, most fossils are of women, not men. From 'Lucy' to Our Lady of Flores
Which should tell you something about evolution, that it develops along matrilinear lines, in other words it is matriarchical rather than patriarchical. And last time I checked ALL monotheistic religions in the modern world are Patriarchical, and deny that they had any social predecessors, especially a matriarchical/matrelinar one
Let us remember too that tool making is the most significant factors in human evolution of cognition. It reflects the role that labour had in moving from ape to hominid to homo sapiens..
The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man
Frederick Engels 1876
Many hundreds of thousands of years ago, during an epoch, not yet definitely determinable, of that period of the earth's history known to geologists as the Tertiary period, most likely towards the end of it, a particularly highly-developed race of anthropoid apes lived somewhere in the tropical zone -- probably on a great continent that has now sunk to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.  Darwin has given us an approximate description of these ancestors of ours. They were completely covered with hair, they had beards and pointed ears, and they lived in bands in the trees.
First, owing to their way of living which meant that the hands had different functions than the feet when climbing, these apes began to lose the habit of using their hands to walk and adopted a more and more erect posture. This was the decisive step in the transition from ape to man.
All extant anthropoid apes can stand erect and move about on their feet alone, but only in case of urgent need and in a very clumsy way. Their natural gait is in a half-erect posture and includes the use of the hands. The majority rest the knuckles of the fist on the ground and, with legs drawn up, swing the body through their long arms, much as a cripple moves on crutches. In general, all the transition stages from walking on all fours to walking on two legs are still to be observed among the apes today. The latter gait, however, has never become more than a makeshift for any of them.
It stands to reason that if erect gait among our hairy ancestors became first the rule and then, in time, a necessity, other diverse functions must, in the meantime, have devolved upon the hands. Already among the apes there is some difference in the way the hands and the feet are employed. In climbing, as mentioned above, the hands and feet have different uses. The hands are used mainly for gathering and holding food in the same way as the fore paws of the lower mammals are used. Many apes use their hands to build themselves nests in the trees or even to construct roofs between the branches to protect themselves against the weather, as the chimpanzee, for example, does. With their hands they grasp sticks to defend themselves against enemies, or bombard their enemies with fruits and stones. In captivity they use their hands for a number of simple operations copied from human beings. It is in this that one sees the great gulf between the undeveloped hand of even the most man-like apes and the human hand that has been highly perfected by hundreds of thousands of years of labour. The number and general arrangement of the bones and muscles are the same in both hands, but the hand of the lowest savage can perform hundreds of operations that no simian hand can imitate-no simian hand has ever fashioned even the crudest stone knife.
The first operations for which our ancestors gradually learned to adapt their hands during the many thousands of years of transition from ape to man could have been only very simple ones. The lowest savages, even those in whom regression to a more animal-like condition with a simultaneous physical degeneration can be assumed, are nevertheless far superior to these transitional beings. Before the first flint could be fashioned into a knife by human hands, a period of time probably elapsed in comparison with which the historical period known to us appears insignificant. But the decisive step had been taken, the hand had become free and could henceforth attain ever greater dexterity; the greater flexibility thus acquired was inherited and increased from generation to generation.
Thus the hand is not only the organ of labour, it is also the product of labour. Only by labour, by adaptation to ever new operations, through the inheritance of muscles, ligaments, and, over longer periods of time, bones that had undergone special development and the ever-renewed employment of this inherited finesse in new, more and more complicated operations, have given the human hand the high degree of perfection required to conjure into being the pictures of a Raphael, the statues of a Thorwaldsen, the music of a Paganini.