(ORDO NEWS) — Cockatoos again surprised scientists by demonstrating the ability to combine different tools, which was previously only characteristic of primates.
Researchers from the Universities of Birmingham and Vienna, as well as the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, say the findings could help understand how our ancestors learned to make and use tools.
The ability to use tools is not inherent in animals, much less the ability to combine several tools. In an experiment with Goffin’s cockatoo, a special game was invented.
This bird species was previously known to be distinguished by its cognitive abilities, and have been shown to use sticks to open the shells of nuts and seeds.
In the new challenge, the cockatoo had to pass a ball through a hole in a closed box, then use a stick to push the ball to one side of the box where a hatch opened, after which the bird was rewarded with a cashew nut.
The three cockatoos that participated in the experiment coped with the task, but, most interestingly, each of them solved it in his own way: one held the stick between the tip of the beak and the tongue, the other between the jaws, and the third with a claw like primates.
Scientists say that even children under the age of 8 cannot cope with all the tasks that these birds can do. This study helps answer the question of how ancient humans developed technological skills over the course of evolution.
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