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Keywords:

  • tool use;
  • skill transfer;
  • wound grooming;
  • medicine

Abstract

After an attack on her 6-day-old infant, a capuchin monkey manufactured, modified, and used simple tools to manipulate her infant's head wound, and applied modified plant materials to the wound. The monkey's preparation and use of plant materials were varied and skillful. Several contextual factors probably facilitated the extension of tool-using behaviors that this female used in treating her own wounds to treating another's wound. We consider these in relation to the prehistorical development of social medicine in our own species.