Chimp Spears

I recently read an article about Chimps in Senegal using spears to hunt small animals. While fascinating in itself, there is one point that relates especially to this blog:
What makes the discovery all the more remarkable, project leader Pruetz said, is who the hunters are: predominantly mature females and immature-youngsters between about two and ten years old.
In normal Chimpanzee social structure, the males do the hunting rather than the females. To see the females taking the initiative with this new technology is intriguing. In modern human society, the males are expected to be the ones who "invent" or discover new technologies. While we are taking steps to address this inequality, if you made a list of famous or influential inventors of the last 100 years, it would consist primarily of men.

Were the females the leading inventors in early human development? If so, what has changed? Why has innovation been labeled as a male activity? Are women still endowed with the power of invention? Or, do the value a different sort of invention - one that directly benefits their lives, rather than abstract acquisition of knowledge?

To answer these questions I think we need to examine the next generation of women - give them a chance to test their skills. Ask the question and see if they will bear out the answer, then ask another question.

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