photo: dennis and aimee jonez/Creative Commons
Add another non-human species to the list of those documented to use tools: The blackspot tuskfish, also known as the green wrasse(Choerodon schoenleinii). As Mongabay reports, photographs taken in the Great Barrier Reef and an article in the journal Coral Reefs show the fish picking up a claim, swimming over to a rock, and using the rock as an anvil to smash open the claim.
The journal article claims this is the first conclusive evidence of a fish using tools.And cue the debate about whether this actually constitutes tool use...At the end of 2009 an octopus was filmed using a shell repeatedly as a shelter, carrying it with itself. That incident was the first documentation of an invertebrate using tools.
Of course, though tool use was once thought to be the sole property of humans, at this point plenty of non-human land animals have been shown to use tools as well.
Photos: Scott Gardner via Mongabay
Report lead author Culum Brown,
The pictures provide fantastic proof of these intelligent fish at work using tools to access prey that they would otherwise miss out on. It is apparent this particular individual does this on a regular basis judging by the broken shells scattered around the anvil.
The bigger question this brings up for me is, how many more examples of tool use by non-humans do we need to document before humans recognize that there is genuine intelligence in species other than our own? And how long before we start recognizing that non-human species aren't just the dumb machines we've taken them to be for far too long?