New behavior suggests chimpanzees may believe in God

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Humans With Back Problems Could Have Chimpanzee-Like Spines


Humans and chimpanzees are very close genetic relatives, but just how close we truly are is still something of a mystery.

New footage of West African chimpanzees shows them throwing rocks against trees for no observable reason, prompting scientists to wonder whether they are performing a kind of religious ritual.

"This [footage] represents the first record of repeated observations of individual chimpanzees exhibiting stone tool use for a purpose other than extractive foraging at what appear to be targeted trees," the researchers wrote.

The chimps also assembled piles of stones, which is a ritual practice dating back thousands of years, according to the Independent. Indeed, it reports, indigenous West African people also collect stones at trees deemed "sacred."

"Nothing like this had been seen before and it gave me goose bumps," Laura Kehoe, a Ph.D student at Humboldt University, observed. "We searched the area and found many more sites where trees had similar markings and in many places piles of rocks had accumulated inside hollow tree trunks—reminiscent of the piles of rocks archaeologists have uncovered in human history."

Click through to see more chimps:

7 PHOTOS
NTP: Baby Chimpanzee in Greece
See Gallery
New behavior suggests chimpanzees may believe in God
Baby chimpanzee Jason sits on his sleeping box at the Attica Zoological Park in Spata, east of Athens, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Jason, who is nearly three months old, is being tended and bottle-fed by zoo staff, as his mother fell sick while he was days old and has been unable to feed him. He will be brought up separately from the zoo's other eight chimpanzees for about a year and a half, and then gradually reintroduced in a painstaking process aiming at his full acceptance by the group and integration. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Baby chimpanzee Jason drinks milk at the Attica Zoological Park in Spata, east of Athens Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Jason, who is nearly three months old, is being tended and bottle-fed by zoo staff, as his mother fell sick while he was days old and has been unable to feed him. He will be brought up separately from the zoo's other eight chimpanzees for about a year and a half, and then gradually reintroduced in a painstaking process aiming at his full acceptance by the group and integration. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Baby chimpanzee Jason clings to zookeeper Alicia Hoogenboom from the Netherlands at the Attica Zoological Park in Spata, east of Athens, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Jason, who is nearly three months old, is being tended and bottle-fed by zoo staff, as his mother fell sick while he was days old and has been unable to feed him. He will be brought up separately from the zoo's other eight chimpanzees for about a year and a half, and then gradually reintroduced in a painstaking process aiming at his full acceptance by the group and integration. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Baby chimpanzee Jason lies as his diaper is changed by zookeeper Alicia Hoogenboom from the Netherlands at the Attica Zoological Park in Spata, east of Athens, on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Jason, who is nearly three months old, is being tended and bottle-fed by zoo staff, as his mother fell sick while he was days old and has been unable to feed him. He will be brought up separately from the zoo's other eight chimpanzees for about a year and a half, and then gradually reintroduced in a painstaking process aiming at his full acceptance by the group and integration. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Baby chimpanzee Jason drinks milk at the Attica Zoological Park in Spata, east of Athens, on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Jason, who is nearly three months old, is being tended and bottle-fed by zoo staff, as his mother fell sick while he was days old and has been unable to feed him. He will be brought up separately from the zoo's other eight chimpanzees for about a year and a half, and then gradually reintroduced in a painstaking process aiming at his full acceptance by the group and integration. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Zookeeper Alicia Hoogenboom from the Netherlands feeds baby chimpanzee Jason at the Attica Zoological Park in Spata, east of Athens, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Jason, who is nearly three months old, is being tended and bottle-fed by zoo staff, as his mother fell sick while he was days old and has been unable to feed him. He will be brought up separately from the zoo's other eight chimpanzees for about a year and a half, and then gradually reintroduced in a painstaking process aiming at his full acceptance by the group and integration. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

More from U.S. News & World Report:
Millennials Would've Made More Money a Decade Ago
Green Burials Bring Awareness to Environmental Concerns
U.S. News Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Challenger and Other NASA Facts

Read Full Story

People are Reading