From the Wikipedia: Tool use by animals

This comes from the new-to-me but now defunct Tumblr Best of Wikipedia.

From the Wikipedia: Tool use by animals.

The Wikipedia provides a few definitions of tools, but presumably you know what tools are. Basically, they’re anything you use to do something that you can’t do with your own body. For a long time, people assumed we were the only species of animal that used tools because we always think we’re so fancy with our glue guns and our Segways. But it turns out a bunch of animals use tools too.

Most tool use by animals is by primates, which shouldn’t surprise anyone because monkeys are awesome. Most primate tools are just sticks, but they’re really making those sticks work for them. Gorillas use sticks to extract termites from nests and to gauge depth in water. Orangutans use sticks to dig delicious seeds out of fruit. Chimps use sticks a bit more violently; they use them to break open bee hives for honey and have even been seen sharpening sticks to use as spears for hunting. That’s pretty ominous, actually.

Also kind of terrifying: Bottlenose dolphins use conch shells as a kind of utensil, catching small fish in them and then lifting them out of the water to let the fish slide down into their mouths. That on its own isn’t scary, what’s scary is that the behavior appears to be spreading, implying that dolphins are still getting better at stuff. Dolphins were the even-money favorite for next dominant species on earth to begin with; learning that they’re learning only improves their odds.

Bears apparently use rocks to exfoliate, which explains why bears have such radiant skin. Also, dingos have been witnessed moving a table to help them reach food. One time I put a biscuit down on the ground and showed it to my dog. He got all excited, because he loved biscuits. Then I put a red plastic Solo cup face down on top of the biscuit to cover it. He approached the cup, sniffed it a little bit, then walked away looking dejected. I gave him the biscuit anyway, out of pity. Stupid dog.

A certain species of ant picks up small stones and other objects and drops them down rival anthills to trap the enemy ants inside and allow its compatriots to forage without competition. More like inhumantity, amirite?

Perhaps the most interesting use of tools come from birds, previously assumed to be really dumb by this site and others. It turns out crows and seagulls have been known to drop hard-shelled nuts and clams onto roads, wait for cars to run them over, then come back to eat the meaty insides.

Nothing tops this, though: Crows like this one have been seen (as you will see) breaking up bread into little pieces and dropping them into water to bait fish. This is so awesome:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s