In three close-together West African countries, chimpanzees have been observed participating in strange rituals, with no practical purpose or reason aside from some kind of spiritual belief.

Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast), Liberia, and Guinea Bissau are home to a population of chimpanzees who may be developing spirituality.

They store several rocks in hollowed out trees.

Then a male chimpanzee takes one of the rocks out of the tree, walks a certain distance, grunts something as if it were some kind of prayer, and then throws the rock at the tree.

After, he places the rock back inside the hollow tree to later repeat the practice. The ritual serves no apparent practical purpose, which is extremely unusual.

According to Big Think:

“No chimps east of these countries have been observed doing this. What’s more, there seems to be no reason for it tied to survival. It has nothing to do with acquiring food, mating, or furthering one’s status. Researchers say it might be a unique display of male power, marking the border of their troop’s territory, or even a spiritual ritual.”

A team of 80 scientists conducted the study. It was led by Hjalmar S. Kuhl and Ammie K. Kalan, from the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

They set up cameras in 4 remote locations, and discovered the chimps performing their rituals. The findings were published in a part of the journal Nature.

There isn’t a video available, but these pictures were published in the study:

To put a little bit of unorthodox perspective on this, the Max Planck Society (the people who did the monkey study), is an association of different institutions in Germany, used to be called Kaiser Wilhelm: the Kaiser Wilhelm institutes in Germany were the foundations of Nazi science, and were funded into prominence by Rockefeller money.

Like several academic institutions in the US, from Stanford to Harvard, they were involved with eugenics and things that generally benefit the wealthy class of people at the expense of the poor.

So unless you think the Max Planck institutes have no more connection to powers that work at the detriment of our class of people, research that they publish should be thoroughly examined to see if there is a hidden agenda.

However, like the large prestigious colleges in the US, Max Planck institutes are so massive that positive, non-oligarchy promoting research comes from them too, and this certainly seems like a genuine and positive scientific discovery.

In my opinion, this is a very real, important and innocuous scientific discovery regardless of who discovered it.

(Image credit: Blogspot)