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Tool Use by Capuchin Monkeys

  1. Jul 9, 2018 #1

    BillTre

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    As science more deeply investigates the detailed intricacies of each species behavior, more cases of animal tool use are revealed. This can often involve elaborate set-ups (see video of spider flight studies). Bigger animals would require bigger set-ups.
    This case is the Capuchin (new world) monkeys on an island of Panama. New world monkeys have been split from old world monkeys since tectonics separated Africa and South America, and have evolved separately for 40 MY. New world monkeys are the ones with tails.

    Many find animal tool use surprising when is demonstrated. However, it could be thought of as putting light on dark areas, to reveal what could be very common.
    The lack of good understanding (unable to determine if learning is present or not) in lots of different species behavior, makes it difficult to figure out whether tool use might have evolved, many times, independently (say between new world monkeys and old world monkeys, or birds and mammals).
    It would not be surprising to find that learning based behaviors could be under positive selection. If a computer can learn, then the much more complex structure and physiology of the insect nervous system should be able to figure it out. Insects for example, do lots of learning.
    Tool use (to me) is just an applied extension of that skill.

    Any trait could arise independently over a wide variety of taxa (animal groups, in general, from species to super phyla), or be inherited from a common ancestor. By looking at a lot of different species across the phylogenetic tree, you can track an outline of how a trait evolved.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2018
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 9, 2018 #2

    Bystander

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    Agreed.
    ..., or, is lost, thinking of human behaviors.
     
  4. Jul 11, 2018 #3
    Don't forget sea-otters use a stone anvil to crack shells...
     
  5. Jul 13, 2018 #4

    256bits

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    What is a "tool?"
    Is an ant-eater's long tongue a tool, even if a genetically created part of the creature?
    Long finger and toe nails for digging and scratching, tails for hanging from branches, wings for flying, ....
    Does an organism have to learn how to use its given tools, or is that being considered as being always innate.
    Granted some creatures learn quickly, such as a fawn using its legs as a tool for walking soon after birth.
    What makes the use of a extensible object as a tooll that much different? if with the "awe" factor.
    As you said,
    Is it the maturity of the nervous system that can hinder tool use, while an adaptable brain or ganglia can, while not promote, but at least ease the proper use of a tool.
     
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