Thursday, February 22, 2007

Did women invent weapons? New Studies in chimp hunting-behaviors point to this possibility.

"Nobody owns life, but anyone who can lift a frying pan owns death."
--Williams S. Burroughs

The Realms of Human and Primate Anthropology--This has been getting kicked-around for some time, but some new studies by anthropologists Jill Pruetz and Paco Bertolani of Iowa State University:

Pruetz noted that male chimps never used the spears. She believes the males use their greater strength and size to grab food and kill prey more easily, so the females must come up with other methods. "That to me was just as intriguing if not even more so," Pruetz said. The spear-hunting occurred when the group was foraging together, again unchimplike behavior that might produce more competition between males and females, she said. Maybe females invented weapons for hunting, Pruetz said. "The observation that individuals hunting with tools include females and immature chimpanzees suggests that we should rethink traditional explanations for the evolution of such behavior in our own lineage," she concluded in her paper.
(Reuters, 02.22.2007)

So, what does it suggest? It could suggest that female-primates invented weapons systems, something usually ascribed to males. Yes, this throws another wrench into the gears of identity-politics. Now, it doesn't mean conclusively that women invented weapons, but it's a strong indicator that it might be true. Kinda makes 2001: A Space Odyssey play differently, doesn't it? I thought it fitting that one of the researchers was a woman. But, we all know women are just as capable of sundry forms of violence, just not as many direct, physical-confrontations as human males (hence, the need for weaponry).

If one looks at the span of human history, this should be of no surprise. Women have also been known for their skills at poisoning for millennia. Granted, it's a harsh world we live in, but it usually takes two to tango. To my mind, nobody is entirely innocent.

The authors point out that the females and immature chimpanzees using the spear-like tools appear to be exploiting a niche relatively ignored by males, an observation that supports a previous hypothesis that female hominids played a role in the evolution of the earliest tool technology and suggests that this technology may have included tools for hunting.
(, 02.22.2007)

As the great Pier Paolo Pasolini once remarked (I'm paraphrasing), "The world is made up of hawks and doves," and the only choice is deciding which species one wishes to be. I'm not advocating victimizing anyone, nor was Pasolini, it's merely a statement of fact: you either decide not to be victimized (usually meaning massive-retaliation, and discipline and tireless resolve), or you end up a dove.

Chimpanzees are modern humans' closest living relatives. And Pruetz's research site is a savannah similar to the open environment that early human ancestors are believed to have moved into millions of years ago. "Looking at our closest living relatives in a habitat that is fairly similar to what we see characterizing early hominids six million years ago" can help researchers understand early human ancestors' behavior and ecology, she said. USC's Stanford likens chimpanzees to a window to a past poorly preserved in the archaeological record.
(, 02.22.2007)

You have to fight for your place in this world, and that's that. There is no justice, only who's left. Moral arguments are phantasms, there is only that which is in the range of the constructive or destructive. Chimps contain 98% of the DNA that we have--we're marginally different from them, and they are a warring-species.


National Geographic: