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Use of Tools by the Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus


THE use of natural objects as tools by free-living vertebrates has, so far as we know, been reported for four species only—the chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes; the gorilla, Gorilla gorilla; the Californian sea otter, Latax lutris; and the Galapagos woodpecker finch, Camarhynchus pallidus. Chimpanzees have been observed to use rocks to break open hard food1; to insert sticks into honey2, to use sticks and stems for feeding on termites and ants3, and to use leaves for sopping up water to drink3 and also for wiping their bodies3,4. A gorilla is reported to have pulled fruit towards it with a crooked stick5. The sea otter uses rocks for breaking open shell fish6, and the woodpecker finch probes insects from their holes with spines or short twigs7.

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VAN LAWICK-GOODALL, J., VAN LAWICK-GOODALL, H. Use of Tools by the Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus. Nature 212, 1468–1469 (1966).

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