Are these chimpanzees actually worshipping a god?
Behaviour witnessed in chimpanzees has led some researchers to believe that they could be worshipping a god.
The strange behaviour was seen by researchers in West African chimpanzees, reports the Telegraph.
Among other things, the animals were seen throwing rocks into trees.
The researchers believed that the behaviours seen in the chimps could constitute some kind of spiritual practice.
Laura Kehoe, of Berlin’s Humboldt University, told the Telegraph that she had “never seen anything like it”, and that she got “shivers” from it.
She said: “We may have uncovered evidence of chimps creating a kind of symbolic ritual. Man-made stone collections are commonly observed across the world, including indigenous west African people who have been found to have stone collections at “sacred” trees that look eerily similar to what we have discovered here.”
The chimpanzees were seen using items normally used as tools, in strange practices.
It is believed that the behaviour could shed light on the beginnings of religious rituals in humans.
“This 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,” said the researchers in an abstract.
“The ritualised behavioural display and collection of artefacts at particular locations observed in chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing may have implications for the inferences that can be drawn from archaeological stone assemblages and the origins of ritual sites.”
The researchers also wrote comparing the practices of collecting stones at particular trees to that of Indigenous West African people, saying it is “eerily similar to what we have discovered here”.
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