Cockatoos can not only use tools, they can carry whole toolkits to trickier jobs, study shows
(CNN)The ability to solve problems with multiple tools is a rare talent in the animal kingdom, but according to new research, cockatoos are the first birds on the block to carry and use a tool kit to suit their needs.
Using 10 Goffin’s cockatoos, researchers from Austria and the UK made their discovery after carrying out three experiments as published in the journal Current Biology Friday. Previously, the only non-human animal known to use a toolkit was the chimpanzee, specifically the Goualougo Triangle chimpanzee from the northern Republic of Congo, according to the study.
Describing the first experiment, Osuna Mascaró said: “We gave them a problem in which they had to fish cashews out of a box, by first poking a hole in the membrane that blocked it with a short, pointy stick and then getting it out with a longer, flexible stick.”
To the researchers’ surprise, some of the cockatoos solved the problem very quickly, with one taking just 31 seconds to do so in its first try.
Mark Briffa, associate head at the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at the University of Plymouth, told CNN that basic tool use is common in animals, but using “a tool set implies the ability to solve problems through flexibly applying some insight of a given situation … (which) this study convincingly shows.” Briffa was not involved in the study.
“We noticed that each cockatoo had a different way of carrying and using the tool sets, which is interesting because cockatoos learned it through play and being curious, like humans do,” he said.
Hidden Camera Catches Clever Sheep Unlocking Gate to Free His Posse–And Solves a Mystery (Watch)
A farm staff was stunned after it learned that one clever sheep had been unlocking a gate to let herself and her pals roam free.
The Whitehouse Farm Centre in Morpeth, England, had no suspects for the rash of break-outs in their barn. They were left baffled when Lucy the one-year-old Leicester sheep and her two fellow ewes repeatedly escaped.
To solve the mystery, they installed a hidden camera—and got a huge surprise. Footage of the gate revealed that Lucy was pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes. In the video,, she put her head through the wooden fence and then slid the bolt open by using her mouth.
The dextrous black and white sheep then pulls the gate inwards to open it and in a matter of seconds, Lucy and her companions are freed to explore the farm.
The animal even appears to look both ways, checking left and right for oncoming staff, before unlocking the pen and escaping. “The craziest part was that she knew she needed to open the gate inward,” said one user. “And they say sheep are stupid,” joked another. “You have definitely shown them.”