For the background I applied wax resists (yes, scribbled on it with crayons), before adding yellow and red washes. Then paint blobs and the inevitable fold.
Many animals use tools — humanity is far from alone in this, as we once presumptuously presumed. I’ve seen a horse pick up a board in its mouth to scratch it’s belly with. Some monkeys drop nuts from great heights onto a large stone to crack them. Then they let them age and dry for days until they’re at the point where they can be shucked and eaten. It’s quite a process. Some chimpanzees show exquisite skill in selecting just the right blade of grass to use “termite fishing” in termite mounds. They know just how to wiggle the grass or let it rest to maximize the number of termites that climb onto it before they pull it out and eat them. This is an expertise so fine that the anthropologist studying them could not master the skill himself.
Yet we are the only animals that have built skyscrapers, airplanes, spacecraft, telescopes, and an internet. No other animal has produced anything to rival even our neolithic stone constructions, as far as we know. No, I take that back — beehives. We differ in degree, not in kind, but it seems we differ greatly in degree.
I think it would be a very interesting experiment to teach a chimpanzee to bake bread, or some other recipe with definite process and pitfalls, but which the chimpanzee would not be interested in eating the ingredients before hand. That part might be difficult. But running with the idea of bread, it would be interesting and informative to see if, a) a chimpanzee could master the skill of baking bread, because baked bread is its own reward — and a food reward at that — and baking bread is challenging for many people, myself included. Even more interesting would be to, b) monitor this chimpanzee baker over time to see if a chimpanzee could internalize, comprehend, and fathom what they’re doing well enough to make changes to the recipe to suit their taste.
I think this could be extremely informative about the mental capacities of our closest species relative.
Someone should do a study. Me, I’m just going to keep painting and wait for an article about the study to show up on the internet. 🙂