ANIMAL BEHAVIOR

Warty pig sticking

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Science  04 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6461, pp. 69-70
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6461.69-e

Not too long ago, it was argued that using tools was a hallmark of being human. However, this argument has been dispelled by more recent behavioral studies on other species—first by observations in great apes, then in species more distantly related to humans, such as crows and dolphins. Root-Bernstein et al. have discovered that the Visayan warty pig can use tools too. Female pigs of this critically endangered species from the Philippines use sticks and bark as digging tools during nest construction. The first observations were made opportunistically and then additional occurrences of the behavior were noticed after the motivation for digging was realized. Although these few observations were made on captive animals, they emphasize that we still have much to learn about the other animals that inhabit this planet even as they approach extinction.

Mamm. Biol. 98, 102 (2019).

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