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Swedish chimp plans ahead for attacks

File image.
by Staff Writers
Stockholm, Sweden (UPI) Mar 9, 2009
A chimpanzee in a Swedish zoo has been found to fashion concrete discs and calmly stockpile them for later assaults on visitors, astounding animal experts.

New Scientist reported Monday that while there have been previous claims of animals looking ahead, what sets Santino, a 30-year-old chimp at Zuruvik zoo, apart is his demeanor.

"The chimp has, without exception, been calm during gathering or manufacture of the ammunition, in contrast to the typically aroused state (when he throws the rocks)," Mathias Osvath of the University in Lund said.

Santino, it seems, goes about his stockpiling in a deliberate manner, not in an emotional state as previously noted in other apes.

"Nothing like it has as yet been reported from the wild, nor from any captive chimpanzees," Thomas Suddendorf of the University of Queensland in Australia said. "Controlled experiments are now required to determine the nature of the cognitive processes involved."

Josep Call of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, concurred.

"It is the first report on tool making -- that is, the concrete disks -- to achieve a future goal," he said. "Future planning may turn out to be more widespread than initially thought."

Santino has been doing this for years, mostly in the summer when the zoo is open to visitors. One good thing for the humans -- he has poor aim and throws underhand so no one has been seriously hurt, zookeepers say.

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Malaysian archaeologists find site of pre-Angkor civilisation
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) March 5, 2009
Malaysian archaeologists Thursday said they had discovered the main site of an ancient kingdom that predates the Angkor temples of Cambodia and could be the oldest civilisation in the region.

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