A Brief History
On November 4, 1960, Dr. Jane Goodall observed Chimpanzees creating and using tools, behavior previously believed to be limited to human beings.
Goodall’s stunning discovery took place at the Kasakela Chimpanzee Community in Tanganyika, what is now Tanzania. While many animals use various objects as tools, actually modifying an object into a useful tool is a bit rarer.
Chimps even make spears for hunting Bushbabies and monkeys, and their use of tools has been documented to go back thousands of years.
Other animals using tools include Sea Otters using rocks to break open shellfish, elephants using branches as fly swatters, Orangutans making whistles, multiple fish eating birds that use lures to attract fish within catchable range, and dogs dragging chairs or benches so they can climb up to grab food from counters.
Perhaps most troubling are Macaques in Thailand that steal human hair to use as tooth floss!
Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever seen an animal using a tool? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Goodall, Jane. In The Shadow Of Man. Mariner Books Classics, 2010.
Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page. The Animal Toolkit: How Animals Use Tools. Clarion Books, 2022.
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