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Word Count: 2,160
Because modern big-game hunters are male it has long been assumed that the earliest hunters were also male--an assumption examined in an earlier chapter A similar assumption has the creativity of early hominid males resulting in toolmaking such as the sharpening of stones for their spears But as more time has been spent in studying primates in their natural habitats many examples of invention and tool use have been observed And the females usually play the starring roles It all started in 1953 when scientists began studying a troop of Japanese macaque monkeys on the island of Koshima Sweet potatoes were left out on the beach to attract the monkeys to a location where the scientists could observe them An 18-month old female named Imo by the observers adopted a novel method for cleaning off the sand adhering to the surface she would dip the potato into the ocean and wash the sand off Soon Imos playmates and then their mothers adopted the technique Within several years 90 percent of the monkeys in the troop had adopted this cultural practice with only the old males refusing to have anything to do with it The scientists tried introducing caramels wrapped in paper The candies were first sampled by the young then by the more permissive mothers and finally after about three years most of the adult males had also adopted the new food In 1955 Imo again made a major invention The scientists had scattered wheat on the beach Picking it out of the sand grain by grain is rather tiresome Some species of monkeys such as the gelada baboons are good at such tasks because they make their living by seed foraging in the plains they also have evolved short forefingers to make it easier to pinch a grain between thumb and forefinger Imo found a better way She threw a handful of beach into the ocean perhaps in
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