Kanzi the bonobo
learned to make and use stone tools


Stone Age Institute researchers Nicholas Toth and Kathy Schick, in collaboration with other researchers, including psychologists Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Duane Rumbaugh at the Language Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia, have worked with African apes, especially bonobos or "pygmy chimpanzees," teaching them to make and use flaked stone tools as a part of research into human cognitive evolution.

The genetic and fossil evidence suggests that humans and chimpanzees/bonobos share a common ancestor about 7 million years ago on the African continent. We share 98 percent of our DNA with our closest living primate relatives, these African apes.

Over the course of this research which began in 1990, our prize pupil Kanzi, a bonobo (“pygmy chimpanzee”, Pan paniscus), learned to make and use stone tools. The video below shows Kanzi making and using a stone tool.

Kanzi was born in 1981 and now lives at the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative (ACCI) in Des Moines, Iowa. Kanzi is world famous for his communication abilities.

from Stone Age Institute on Vimeo.

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