Mandrill makes ‘pedicuring’ tool


From the BBC:

22 July 2011 Last updated at 01:00

Mandrill monkey makes ‘pedicuring’ tool

By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC Nature

A crude “pedicure” carried out by a mandrill at Chester Zoo suggests the monkeys are capable of more advanced tool use than previously thought.

Scientists from Durham University, UK, filmed the mandrill stripping a twig and using the resulting tool to clean under its toenails.

They published the findings in the journal Behavioural Processes.

Mandrills are the fifth species of Old World monkey seen deliberately modifying tools.

Non-human apes, including chimpanzees and orangutans, can adapt basic tools for specific jobs.

One well-known example of this behaviour is termite fishing in chimpanzees, where the animals strip down grasses to make fishing rods that they then poke into termite mounds to snag the nutritious insects.

“It is an ability that, up until a few years ago, was thought to be unique to humans,” said Dr Riccardo Pansini, who led the research.

The new findings, he said, indicate that monkeys’ intelligence may too have been underestimated.

“The gap between monkeys and great apes is not as large as we thought it was in terms of tool use and modification,” he told BBC Nature.

This video from England is called Mandrill gives himself a pedicure with a self-made tool.

See also here.

Apes in Africa: The cultured chimpanzees: here.

Orangutans Have Culture. A study shows that different populations of the Southeast Asian ape display and transmit specific behaviors through generations in a way similar to human cultures: here.

Sex differences in the stone tool-use behavior of a wild population of burmese long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis aurea): here.

Dolphins use sponges as tools: Some bottle-nosed dolphins hold sponges in their beaks as protection: here.

8 thoughts on “Mandrill makes ‘pedicuring’ tool

  1. Pingback: Mandrill baby born in Amsterdam zoo | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  4. Geniuses exist among non-humans

    Big News Network (ANI) Monday 27th August, 2012

    A series of tests examining intelligence in chimps have found that some apes are much smarter than others.

    One chimp in particular, an adult female in her 20’s named Natasha, who scored far better than other chimps was classified as being “exceptional.”

    The findings, published in the latest Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, suggest that geniuses exist among non-humans, Discovery News reported.

    Instead, a perfect storm of abilities seems to come together to create the Einsteins of the animal kingdom. Natasha’s keepers at the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary in Uganda knew she was special even before the latest study.

    “The caretakers named Natasha as the smartest chimpanzee, precisely the same chimpanzee that our tests had revealed to be exceptional,” wrote study authors Esther Herrmann and Josep Call of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

    Natasha has made headlines over the months for her attention-grabbing antics. For example, she repeatedly escaped her former enclosure, surrounded by an electric fence. She did this by tossing branches at the fence until she didn’t see a spark, letting her know that the power was off.

    She also learned how to tease humans, beckoning them to throw food her way, only to spray the unsuspecting person with water.

    Herrmann and Call decided to study this chimp, along with numerous others, to see if there really are chimp prodigies among non-human great apes. To do this, the researchers created a multi-part mental challenge consisting of eight tasks.

    For the first task, the chimps had to find hidden find, testing their spatial knowledge. For the second, the chimps wielded a tool-avoiding a trap-to again obtain a food reward. The remaining tasks demonstrated understanding of things like colour, size and shape.

    “We identified some individuals who consistently scored well across (the) multiple tasks,” wrote the authors, who again made note of Natasha, who aced nearly every task.

    The researchers could not identify “a general intelligence factor.” They instead indicate that ape intelligence might be a bundling of skills related to learning, tool usage, understanding of quantities, and an ability to reach conclusions based on evidence and reasoning.

    For other animals, Herrmann and Call mention the dogs Rico and Chaser, who knew the meaning of hundreds of words. (ANI)


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