Orangutans instinctively attack with a hammer and cut with sharp stones

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Louis (young male orangutan) using the core as an active element for vertically striking the concrete floor of the laboratory during the flake trading conditions of Experiment 2. Credits: Motes-Rodrigo et al. , 2022, PLOS ONECC-BY 4.0 (

According to a study by Alba Motes-Rodrigo and his colleagues at the University of Tubingen, Germany, untrained prisoner-of-war orangutans can complete two major steps in the order of stone tool use.Open access journal PLOS ONE..

Researchers tested the production and use of tools in two captive male orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) at the Kristiansand Zoo in Norway. Neither was previously trained and exposed to demonstrations of the target’s behavior. Each orangutan was provided with a concrete hammer, a prepared stone core, and two bait puzzle boxes that required cutting ropes or silicon skins to access the bait rewards. Both orangutans voluntarily struck the hammer against the wall and floor of the enclosure, but neither directed the attack towards the stone core. In the second experiment, orangutans were also given artificial sharp flint flakes. Orangutan Used to cut silicone skins and solve puzzles. This is the first demonstration of the cutting behavior of an untrained, uncultured orangutan.

Next, to investigate whether apes can learn the rest of the steps from observing other animals, researchers create flint flakes on three female orangutans at the Twycross Zoo in the United Kingdom. Showed how to hit the core for. After these demonstrations, one woman used a hammer to hit the core, directing the blow to the edge like a demonstration.

This study is the first to report the use of non-directional, spontaneous stone tools in uncultured orangutans.The authors say their observations suggest two major preconditions for the appearance of stones. tool The use of hitting with a stone hammer and recognizing sharp stones as cutting tools may have existed in the last common ancestor with orangutans 13 million years ago.

The author adds: “Our study is the first to report that untrained orangutans can voluntarily use sharp stones as cutting tools. Stones piece. ”

Chimpanzees are not in the Stone Age

For more information:
Motes-Rodrigo A, McPherron SP, Archer W, Hernandez-Aguilar RA, Tennie C (2022) An experimental study of the shocking and sharp stone tool behavior of orangutan stone tools. PLoS ONE 17 (2): e0263343.

Quote: The orangutan instinctively attacks with a hammer and cuts with a sharp stone (February 16, 2022).

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Orangutans instinctively attack with a hammer and cut with sharp stones

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