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Author Topic: Do animals use tools?  (Read 11184 times)

Offline Emilio Romero

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Do animals use tools?
« on: 02/03/2009 23:46:57 »

We’ve seen apes use twigs to catch termites (and eat them), and otters crash a clam against a rock to open it (and eat it).
Does that account as “using tools” to complete a desired task?
Does tool usage require some kind of reasoning?
 :o

Emilio


 

Offline neilep

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #1 on: 03/03/2009 00:02:11 »
In my limited opinion I would say that ' yes' they are using tools. Whether an ape or an otter deem the object as a ' tool ' is debateable. They may know that it is a means to an end , in that it helps them gain sustenance ,but I suspect that they do not reason it as so.







« Last Edit: 03/03/2009 00:23:22 by neilep »
 

Offline RD

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #2 on: 03/03/2009 00:09:30 »
Nutty Japanese crows ...
 

Offline Emilio Romero

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #3 on: 03/03/2009 00:19:58 »
But isn’t it intrinsic to the concept of tools a reasoning process that makes us use (to obtain one result) something in a way which is not naturally meant for?
 

Offline Emilio Romero

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #4 on: 03/03/2009 00:22:34 »


WoW!!!
That crow will be driving one of those cars tomorrow... Nice!
 

Offline neilep

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #5 on: 03/03/2009 00:27:44 »
But isn’t it intrinsic to the concept of tools a reasoning process that makes us use (to obtain one result) something in a way which is not naturally meant for?


yes,...yes I think you are right....but I suspect an ape accidentally put a stick in a hole and learned that termites stood on it....and that an otter accidentally learned that a rock crashing against a clam would reveal it's contents.......I'm no expert but I think that you may mean a ' tool ' as something that is used or designed before hand in conclusion to rationale thought in that the use of it will give a result !...I'm not too sure if the otter or ape arrived at the use of their tools by this rationale.
 

Offline Don_1

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #6 on: 03/03/2009 08:10:38 »
Man's first tools were simple, an unrefined stick, bone or stone. Our ability to reason gave us the ideas which led to the refinement of these most basic of tools. But it was our exceptionally dexterous hands which gave us the the opportunity to put our ideas into practice.

Other animals find a 'tool' which measures up nearest to the requirement, or in some cases do manipulate the tool to be fit for purpose and even retain a good tool when found. Some animals have been observed stripping a twig of side shoots to make the twig fit for purpose.

Look at these http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwVhrrDvwPM

In this clip, a young crow learns how to use a twig as a tool.

http://dml.cmnh.org/1997Jul/msg00583.html

A short list of some other tool using birds.

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/kids/animals-pets-kids/mammals-kids/chimp-tools-kids.html

Chimps using and learning how to use tools.

http://i.livescience.com/images/050929_gorilla1_02.jpg

This Gorilla is using the stick in it's right hand to test the depth of the water.

There are so many instances of tool use by animals and the passing of knowledge in the selection, adaption and use of tools from one generation to the next, it is hard to discount some degree of reasoning.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #7 on: 03/03/2009 08:47:33 »
What a tool!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #8 on: 03/03/2009 13:52:13 »
But isn’t it intrinsic to the concept of tools a reasoning process that makes us use (to obtain one result) something in a way which is not naturally meant for?


yes,...yes I think you are right....but I suspect an ape accidentally put a stick in a hole and learned that termites stood on it....and that an otter accidentally learned that a rock crashing against a clam would reveal it's contents.......I'm no expert but I think that you may mean a ' tool ' as something that is used or designed before hand in conclusion to rationale thought in that the use of it will give a result !...I'm not too sure if the otter or ape arrived at the use of their tools by this rationale.

Good poinrs, Neil. The reasoning process would be to consider what needs to be done (e.g. get the termites out of the hole) and think of how that could be achieved (get a stick to poke in the hole). I have my doubts as to whether that's how it happened.

Far more likely is what you suggest - a stick was stuck in a hole and termites got on it. Ape thought "Oooh, that's handy Harry!" and presto!
 

Offline BenV

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #9 on: 03/03/2009 13:54:17 »
But isn’t it intrinsic to the concept of tools a reasoning process that makes us use (to obtain one result) something in a way which is not naturally meant for?


But chimps do adapt sticks to be the best size and shape for termite fishing - that must count as tool making as well as tool use, surely?
« Last Edit: 03/03/2009 14:20:34 by BenV »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #10 on: 03/03/2009 14:09:05 »
Ben - I don't deny it would count as tool use. I was commenting on how the chimps started using sticks.
 

Offline BenV

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #11 on: 03/03/2009 14:22:53 »
Doc - I've edited my above post to better show what I'm responding to... Silly me... Fascinating stuff though, isn't it?  There's also the aspect that tool use in chimps is learned - the youngsters copy their mothers.
 

Offline Emilio Romero

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #12 on: 03/03/2009 14:27:12 »
So they use tools... and they make tools... and they learn how to make them and use them...
Fascinating indeed...
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #13 on: 03/03/2009 14:33:05 »
Doc - I've edited my above post to better show what I'm responding to...

Noted.
 

Offline Karsten

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #14 on: 03/03/2009 14:44:40 »
I think what matters is not the tool USE, but the tool CREATION.

On the other hand, this favors those beings that have the physical ability to create a physical object. Hands are handy.

I had a discussion with an engineering student once. He insisted that dolphin could not be intelligent since they did not make anything. I argued against it since I felt that dolphins could not build much since they just did not have hands.

Anyhow, the modification of actual production of customized tools shows in my mind a greater intellectual ability than merely taking something and using it as it. And some animals seem to be able to do that. Humans for instance.  :)

 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #15 on: 03/03/2009 14:56:11 »
Quote
Anyhow, the modification of actual production of customized tools shows in my mind a greater intellectual ability than merely taking something and using it

I agree up to a point - but making tools is not a measure of intellect per se.

Claude E. Shannon's Information Theory equates complexity of language/communication to intelligence. The more complex the language a species uses, the greater its intelligence. After analysing the language of a number of species he has concluded that the most complex is not human language but that employed by humpback whales. Their brain is also 2.5 times the size of a human brain and contains neurons which were previously only thought to be present in Great Apes.

It is quite possible, then, that humpbacks are the most intelligent creatures on Earth, but they neither use nor make tools.
 

Offline Emilio Romero

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #16 on: 03/03/2009 18:48:29 »
Quote
Anyhow, the modification of actual production of customized tools shows in my mind a greater intellectual ability than merely taking something and using it

I agree up to a point - but making tools is not a measure of intellect per se.

Claude E. Shannon's Information Theory equates complexity of language/communication to intelligence. The more complex the language a species uses, the greater its intelligence. After analysing the language of a number of species he has concluded that the most complex is not human language but that employed by humpback whales. Their brain is also 2.5 times the size of a human brain and contains neurons which were previously only thought to be present in Great Apes.

It is quite possible, then, that humpbacks are the most intelligent creatures on Earth, but they neither use nor make tools.



But perhaps having the intelligence doesn’t necessarily mean having the ability...
If they may be the most intelligent creatures on earth... why is it that humans are the most advanced?

 

Offline neilep

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #17 on: 03/03/2009 20:09:58 »
I'm not too sure if this helps but this is my cat Deano ringing his broker after using the callipers to get an idea of how much his claw covers (made form gold) are worth !




 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #18 on: 03/03/2009 20:56:51 »
Emilio - Humpbacks are not technologically advanced. Not having hands makes using tools etc. a bit difficult. But is a species' technology the only measure of how advanced it is? Humpbacks seem to be fairly advanced societally and they communicate with one another over hundreds of miles without technological aids. That's something humans cannot do.

I don't recall ever hearing of humpbacks fighting each other. That makes them fairly unique as a species and indicates what I would consider an advanced trait.
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #19 on: 03/03/2009 21:07:12 »
As usual males fight over females ...

Quote
Often there are several male humpback whales around one female which fight aggressively for access to the cow. The males hit each other with their flukes, they slap the water surface with their flippers and tails and release streams of bubbles from their blow holes.
http://www.whale-info.com/Humpbackwhales.html


[Dolphins can be violent too ... http://www.abdn.ac.uk/lighthouse/documents/infanticide.pdf]
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #20 on: 03/03/2009 21:14:37 »
Fighting over females is common to just about every species - including humans. I was referring to casual combat, combat over territory, etc..
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #21 on: 03/03/2009 22:12:39 »
Cycling Dog ...
NR=1
« Last Edit: 03/03/2009 22:15:57 by RD »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #22 on: 03/03/2009 22:23:07 »
hehe, that dog is brilliant!  :D
 

Offline Emilio Romero

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« Reply #23 on: 03/03/2009 22:42:36 »
You make a very interesting point Doctor...
Thank you
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #24 on: 03/03/2009 23:14:25 »
You're most welcome. I think I must have had my sensible head on  :D
 

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Do animals use tools?
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