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Defensive stoning by baboons


REPORTS of the use of tools in offence or defence by wild animals is limited to accounts of chimpanzees throwing branches at conspecifics, potential predators and at human observers1. Anecdotal accounts of stone throwing by baboons2 have been dismissed on the basis of the unreliability of correspondents and the improbability of oriented throwing by a quadruped anatomically incapable of overhand throwing3. In spite of several years of field study elsewhere in Africa, often in rocky terrain, there are no reports by professional field observers of deliberate stone throwing by baboons4–7.

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  2. Kortlandt, A., and Kooij, M., Symp. zool. Soc., Lond., 10, 61 (1963).

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  3. Washburn, S. L., and Jay, D. C., Curr. Anthrop., 8, 253 (1967).

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  4. DeVore, I., and Hall, K. R. L., in Primate Behaviour (edit. by DeVore, I.), 20 (Holt, London, 1965).

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  5. Kummer, H., Social Organisation of Hamadryas Baboons (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1968).

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HAMILTON, W., BUSKIRK, R. & BUSKIRK, W. Defensive stoning by baboons. Nature 256, 488–489 (1975).

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