Spontaneous innovation in tool manufacture and use in a Goffin’s cockatoo

  • Auersperg A
  • Szabo B
  • von Bayern A
  • et al.
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Abstract

Accounts of complex tool innovations in animals, particularly in species not adaptively specialized for doing so, are exceedingly rare and often linked to advanced cognitive abilities in the physical domain [1], even though the relation between such capabilities and intelligence is poorly understood [2]. For this reason, discoveries of such capabilities transcend anecdotal value and contribute significantly to comparative cognition [3–5]. Among birds, there are several reports of tool innovations in corvids, but very few documented records in other families (for example [1,3–7]). Here, we report a case of spontaneous tool innovation in the Goffin’s cockatoo (Cacatua goffini), a species endemic to the Tanimbar archipelago in Indonesia. Like most corellas, they live in social groups (∼10–100) in tropical dry forests, roost in simple tree holes, and feed mainly on a seed based diet (which occasionally causes interference with agriculture) [8]. There are no records of tool-related behavior in the wild. We report how a captive male named Figaro successfully, reliably and repeatedly made and used stick-type tools to rake in food, manufacturing them from two different materials and displaying different steps and techniques.

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APA

Auersperg, A. M. I., Szabo, B., von Bayern, A. M. P., & Kacelnik, A. (2012). Spontaneous innovation in tool manufacture and use in a Goffin’s cockatoo. Current Biology, 22(21), R903–R904. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2012.09.002

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