Monday, March 5, 2012

Evidence of Bears Using Tools... we're doomed.

There has been photographic evidence of an Alaskan brown bear using a tool (a rock). This may be the first mammal outside of the primates to do so... Today a rock, tomorrow a pointy spear... time to change the locks on the doors and hide in the basement.
Behold and kneel down before the dawn of the Bear...!  
The animal repeatedly picked up barnacle-encrusted rocks in shallow water, manipulated and re-oriented them in its forepaws, and used them to rub its neck and muzzle. The behaviour probably served to relieve irritated skin or to remove food-remains from the fur. Bears habitually rub against stationary objects and overturn rocks and boulders during foraging and such rubbing behaviour could have been transferred to a freely movable object to classify as tool-use.The bear exhibited considerable motor skills when manipulating the rocks, which clearly shows that these animals possess the advanced motor learning necessary for tool-use. Advanced spatial cognition and motor skills for object manipulation during feeding and tool-use provide a possible explanation for why bears have the largest brains relative to body size of all carnivores. Systematic research into the cognitive abilities of bears, both in captivity and in the wild, is clearly warranted to fully understand their motor-learning skills and physical intelligence related to tool-use and other object manipulation tasks. 

via io9

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