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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Gruber, Thibaud Zuberbühler, Klaus Clément, Fabrice and van Schaik, Carel 2015. Apes have culture but may not know that they do. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 6, Issue. ,

    van Hooff, Jan A. R. A. M. and Lukkenaar, Bas 2015. Captive chimpanzee takes down a drone: tool use toward a flying object. Primates, Vol. 56, Issue. 4, p. 289.

    Estienne, Vittoria Stephens, Colleen and Boesch, Christophe 2017. Extraction of honey from underground bee nests by central African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes ) in Loango National Park, Gabon: Techniques and individual differences. American Journal of Primatology, Vol. 79, Issue. 8, p. e22672.

    Hortolà, Policarp 2018. Experimental artefacts in research on prehistoric and aboriginal technology: a standardised terminology and registry code based on alpha-taxonomy and the chaîne opératoire . Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Vol. 10, Issue. 1, p. 31.

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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: March 2013

2 - Ecology and cognition of tool use in chimpanzees

from Part I - Cognition of tool use

Summary

Introduction

Humans, as the most technological species, tend to assume that tool use is a sign of higher intelligence and that, over the course of our evolution, tools conferred a decisive advantage in the struggle to adapt to different environments (Mithen, 1996; Wynn, 2002; Wolpert, 2003; Dietrich et al., 2008). As such, animal species that use tools are considered more intelligent, while those that do not are judged as being less intelligent. This amounts to an anthropocentric judgment whereby humans adopt a human criterion to judge the adaptive skills of other species (Barrett et al., 2007; Goodrich & Allen, 2007). However, both phylogeny and ecology must be taken into account before one makes judgments about when and where we might expect tools to be used (Bluff et al., 2007; Hansell & Ruxton, 2008).

Tool use as an adaptation

Physical adaptations

If one remembers that, in most cases, tools are an extension of one’s body that allow an individual to solve tasks that cannot be solved with the body alone (Goodall, 1970; Beck, 1980; Boesch & Boesch, 1990), we must acknowledge that some primate species possess more efficient physical specializations than humans. For example, baboons have very hard, sharp teeth, which allow them to break open hard-shelled fruits that humans would be unable to open without the help of a tool (Kummer, 1968). Similarly, orangutans and gorillas, which are clearly physically stronger than humans, have been seen accessing food resources using sheer force in situations where humans would need to rely on tools (Schaik & Knott, 1996; Cipolletta et al., 2007). In addition to sheer force, it has been argued that hands help in tool use and this would then explain some of the distribution of tool use in the animal kingdom, although we should not forget that birds hold tools with their beaks and some otters use tools as well. Therefore, independent of the cognitive capacities required to use tools, tool use by animals should not be expected to occur in all situations where humans might use them. Our natural tendency to anthropomorphize hinders us from reaching a better understanding of the evolution of tool use, and it is imperative that we look directly to animals for answers about when tools might be beneficial.

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Tool Use in Animals
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