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Cockatoo Manufactures, Uses Tools 75

grrlscientist writes with news of a cockatoo named Figaro, who was observed to construct and use his own tools to retrieve objects that were outside of his cage. Quoting: "One day, a student caregiver noticed Figaro pushing a stone pebble through the aviary wire mesh, where it fell on a wood structural beam. Unable to retrieve the stone with his foot, Figaro then fetched a piece of bamboo and again attempted to retrieve the stone using the bamboo stick. ... During the next three days, the researchers ran trials of the original scenario, which was repeated ten times but substituting a cashew nut for the pebble. All trials were captured on video and the process of tool manufacture and use was documented photographically. ... 'Figaro made a new tool for every nut we placed there and each time the bird was successful in obtaining it,' reports cognitive biologist Alice Auersperg of the University of Vienna, who led the study (PDF). During these trials, Figaro used 10 tools, nine of which he manufactured and one of which was ready-made."
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Cockatoo Manufactures, Uses Tools

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  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @06:24PM (#41945683)
    Uh oh, the cockatoo just used bamboo to log into slashdot and read that comment and it appears he's devising a spear-like weapon and a lock pick for the cage door. Watch your ass! You pissed him off, lol.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @07:00PM (#41945959) Journal

    grrlscientist writes with news of a cockatoo named Figaro, who was observed to construct and use his own tools

    That's just epic. When the economy doesn't support the First World manufacturing industry, you can rely on parrots take over. I think I'll sleep much better now. :-)

    Just you wait: Next week, I hear that a team will be publishing their work on a vulture who established a shell company, oversaw a hostile buyout of Figaro's Tools, and then outsourced production to China while exploiting the artisinal brand appeal of Figaro's lovingly handcrafted tradition... That's the bird you want to watch out for...

  • by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @08:25PM (#41946525)

    A smart bird would have made a tool that could do the job ten times, and not a new tool each time.

    A smart bird would have picked the lock on the cage and shived the person with the can of cashews when their back was turned.

  • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @10:13PM (#41946997) Journal
    So do elephants. There is a well documented incident where a female elephant was observed using an epileptic Maasai midget as a vibrator. This is the real reason for their animosity towards elephants. Not competition for land which is the common excuse cited in animal documentary films. This is usually because of a puritan streak in America that causes Americans to shy away from elephant sexuality. I saw this on animal planet. Honest.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison