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Wild Gorillas In Congo Seen To Use Tools

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posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 12:02 AM
Scientists have observed wild gorillas in Congo use sticks to test the depth of muddy water and use tools not for just obtaining food, but for postural support. This is the first time gorillas have been seen using tools to perform simple tasks in the wild.
Gorillas have been seen for the first time using simple tools to perform tasks in the wild, researchers say. Scientists observed gorillas in a remote Congolese forest using sticks to test the depth of muddy water and to cross swampy areas. Wild chimps and orangutans also use tools, suggesting that the origins of tool use may predate the evolutionary split between apes and humans.

"In the first case, we had a female crossing a pool; and this female has crossed this pool by using a detached stick and testing the water depth, and trying to use it as a walking stick," he told the BBC. The second case saw another female gorilla pick up the trunk of a dead shrub and use it to lean on while dredging for food in a swamp. She then placed the trunk down on the swampy ground and used it as a bridge.

This discovery makes the gorilla the last of the great apes to be documented using tools in the wild. Though some monkeys and birds also use tools, Thomas Breuer believes that the great apes are special. "We have now seen tool use in all the great apes in the wild," he said. "That now makes us think that it might be the case that tool use has been an ancient trait of all great apes before the human lineage split away."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

There is a video of this scene available here.

This is an interesting discovery. Could the gorillas have been using tools "all the time", and the scientists didn´t notice it until now? Or did the gorillas just recently learned how to use tools to help make their life easier? Maybe the fact that the gorillas are endangered made them "smarter" in a way. Planet of the apes...

BBC: "The chimp Ai can count and recall numbers, recognise characters"

[edit on 2005/10/1 by Hellmutt]

[edit on 10/15/05 by FredT]

posted on Oct, 1 2005 @ 12:17 PM
There is also an ATS thread here:

Gorillas videotaped using walking sticks. (by Umbrax)

Note: ATS and ATSNN threads can co-excist (that thread does not make this one a repeat...)


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