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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Cockatoo Makes and Uses Tools

It was believed that Man was the only toolmaking animal. In recent times many animals have been seen using tools like wood and rocks mainly to access food.

A cockatoo named Figaro kept in captivity in Austria has been using tools to get food. Birds are extremely intelligent creatures. It is known that they mimic sounds such as the human voice. Some can even understand the meaning of basic sentences. Figaro creates tools, modifying tools specifically to get small pieces of food placed outside his cage.

Other bird species observed using tools are crows, ravens, woodpecker finches and Herons. A captive New Caledonian crow used wire rather than wood to reach into crevices for grubs. Northern blue jays have used shredded paper to gather up food pellets. In the wild they do not use tools at all.

Tool use is not a specific function developed at a particular point in time by a species. It a a general function of high intelligence. To access food, many smart animals can make and use tools. Man the toolmaker is not unique.
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Ornithology
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