New behavior suggests chimpanzees may believe in God
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."
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