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Folia Primatol (Basel). 2009;80(2):70-3. doi: 10.1159/000214225. Epub 2009 Apr 24.

Baboon palm nut harvesters in ancient Egypt: new (ancient) evidence, new questions.

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  • 1Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, Maisons Alfort, France.


It is well documented that hamadryas baboons were used by the ancient Egyptians to pick fruits, but it is not well known that these baboons were also used to collect palm nuts. We describe this practice as it is depicted on a painting on a rarely exhibited ancient Egyptian artefact. Striking similarities with the modern use of pig-tailed macaques as coconut harvesters are described, raising new questions about the demise of the practice in Africa and its continuation in South-East Asia.

Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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