Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fish gear

Not long ago, it was generally believed humans were the only 'animals' that use tools. A major proof of human exceptionalism. Nowadays we are well aware of animals using tools (i.e. chimpanzees using tools to collect ants from their nests; dolphins using sponges to protect their noses as they scour the ocean bottom for food and birds using sticks to collect ants). Now chimps and dolphins are considered as the most intelligent creatures amongst animals. But fish, often considered to be the least brainy of all animals, using tools in the same way as other animals? That's a remarkable feature.

Giacomo Bernardi, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Wrote about it in the journal "Coral Reefs":  "We observed an individual of Choerodon anchorago cracking bivalves using a rock as an anvil. After two such events, we started filming the behavior, which was repeated a third time... It requires a lot of forward thinking, because there are a number of steps involved. For a fish, it’s a pretty big deal.”

The Anchor Tuskfish, showing 
its impressive teeth. 
(Photo Ned DeLorach)
Check out the video, to see Choerodon anchorago, the "Anchor" or "Orange-dotted Tuskfish, digging out a clam, carrying it to a suitable rock and then throwing the clam against the rock to break it open. Even without being a handyman, using stones as gear, the Anchor Tuskfish has ways to open up clams. Take a look at the impressive teeth at the photo and you will understand how the job is done.

You know, I won't be suprised if one of these days Sponge Bob appears to be a true species.

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