Alejandra Pascual-Garrido joined the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology in May 2020. As a field-based primatologist, she studies the evolution, maintenance and population-specific variation of plant-based material cultures among wild chimpanzees. While also observing chimpanzees directly, she uses archaeological methods to reconstruct past behaviour from localities where tools where previously employed – via signs on source plants, abandoned implements or tool use sites. Such ‘archaeology of the perishable’ may allow us to make important inferences about early humans. Currently, our perception of the evolutionary trajectories of human material culture is heavily skewed towards lithic technology – because stones are more durable, but also, because we know little about archaeological signatures that plant-based artefacts may leave in the environment.