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to identify the different macaque hammer stone types, we recorded the percussive wear patterns on macaque stone hammers collected at laem son national park in 2013 and 2016 [ 11 ]. the degree and location of the percussive damage recorded on the stone tools, and the resulting analysis of wear patterns on the tools, was then used to identify their specific hammerstone use [ 15, 17 ]. these patterns were compared to those obtained from stone hammers collected from a neighbouring island, and to those from stone tools documented in mainland thailand [ 12, 13 ] and previously described in the literature.
anthropological analysis of the macaque stone hammer use patterns from laem son national park records from 2013 and 2016 has provided quantitative data about the variations in stone tool use among local macaques over a 10-year period and showed that there are different types of stones used by the macaques at the site in 2013 and 2016.
bougainvillea nuts weighing up to 20 g provide a suitably hard target for percussive stone tool manufacture. all hammerstones collected at pny contain a large number of pits and have been used to process these nuts, with the size, number and location of the pits varying according to both the tool and the user. there was no significant difference between the amount of surface percussive damage caused by macaque hammerstones on the empty-shelled versus the fully-shelled b. bucciniformis at pny [ 27 ]. the pny data show that oil palm hammers are used for percussive sea almond processing at pny, with the majority of the pits being located on faces, edges and narrow ends. the same surfaces on pny gastropod processing pound hammers are subjected to pitting, and in both tools the locations of damage suggest these damage occurred when the tool struck the anvil in use. these observations are not surprising given that both percussive techniques involve conchoidal fracture on these surfaces [ 1, 2 ]. however, the extent of percussive damage was significantly greater on faces, edges and narrow ends of the oil palm hammerstones than for the same surfaces on pny gastropod processing pound hammers. this suggests that the macaque tool had more difficulty causing conchoidal fracture on pny gastropod processing pound hammers compared to the fully-shelled pny b. bucciniformis. that the macaque punches the b. bucciniformis nuts to extract the oil and soft mesocarp under a layer of tannin-rich fruits, not to shell the nut is consistent with the ability to conchoidally fracture the b. bucciniformis at pny. that macaques routinely percuss the empty-shelled nuts at pny also suggests that the soft mesocarp is difficult to remove from the b. this suggests that macaques are unable to extract this softer material from the fully-shelled pny b.
despite the greater intensity of damage, the pny gastropod processing pound hammerstone does not contain any striations or significant mechanical modification. this difference suggests that the macaque stone tool has significantly more difficulty creating conchoidal fractures than is required for the removal of the soft mesocarp. this difference in effectiveness, if replicated on pny gastropod processing pound hammers, might explain why macaques do not commonly use these tools for percussive sea almond processing in this site, despite their use at pny. the pny gastropod processing pound hammerstone may not have been processed to extract soft mesocarp, and the associated pitting is consistent with the use of the tools to process pounded-out sea almonds. this is consistent with our hypothesis that, in the absence of a specific purpose for creating conchoidal fractures in the b. bucciniformis at pny, macaques prefer to use their stone tools to extract and process empty-shelled nuts, rather than using pounding stone tools to pound the fully-shelled nuts, to extract the mesocarp [ 17 ].
the small number of hammerstones collected at bossou are made from quartzite, most often slightly to moderately muscovite-rich with little or no weathering. these raw material types do not fracture easily into conchoidal fractures [ 25, 27 ].
macroscopic observation of macaque tool surfaces has revealed relatively frequent occurrence of traces of striations, similar to those seen on the macaque hammerstones. the occurrence of these tool marks suggest potential use of macaque stone flakes to fashion small sharp flakes, which would have been made from either quartz or siliceous sandstone [ 32 ]. however, this observation is clearly linked to the presence of several hammerstones in an experimental hammerstone pound, supporting the strong association of this activity to macaque stone tool use [ 32 ]. furthermore, observing multiple copies of such tool marks also supports the use-wear-conversion model for tool production in macaques [ 30 ].