Video footage suggests chimpanzees may believe in a higher power.
Scientists have recently made a potentially revolutionary advance in biological research with video footage which they believe could possibly show that chimpanzees may believe in God.
While carrying out field research in the Republic of Guinea, PhD researcher Laura Kehoe’s interest was piqued by a series of strange markings she found on a tree. By setting up a covert camera, she was able to discover that these markings were left by chimpanzees who appeared to be engaging in ritualistic behavior.
Kehoe was in the area to study a group of chimpanzees whose existence remained somewhat of a mystery, as they do not live in a protected area. Her cameras captured a large male chimpanzee approaching the tree, stopping to look around to see if he was alone, and then throwing a large rock at it, causing the distinctive markings.
In the 1960s, Jane Goodall was the first person to study chimps’ use of tools, when she observed them using rocks and sticks to get access to food that they would not otherwise have been able to reach. However, this is the first time that they have been seen using rocks in the way that Kehoe recorded.
— Blanche Horst (@HobanGirl) March 5, 2016
While this might at first seem like simply territorial behavior, Kehoe and her guide soon found that a number of hollow trees throughout the area contained large piles of rocks, like the one they had seen the male chimp throw. Archaeologists have discovered that, early in human development, similar ritualistic acts were performed, which leads her to believe that this display likewise was part of a ritual of some kind.
Writing in The Conservation, she notes: “Indigenous West African people have stone collections at 'sacred' trees and such man-made stone collections are commonly observed across the world and look eerily similar to what we have discovered here.” The stones may symbolize a shrine, denoting a sacred tree. If her hypothesis is correct, it could show that chimps possess an inherent belief in a higher power.