New behavior suggests chimpanzees may believe in God

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
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:

NTP: Baby Chimpanzee in Greece
See Gallery
New behavior suggests chimpanzees may believe in God

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

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners