Tool Use Observed in Wild Gorillas

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September 30, 2005

Great apes, including chimpanzees and orangutans, have been observed using tools in the wild but until now tool use had not been observed in gorillas. Two new reports highlight the ability of gorillas to use tools in the wild. One report documents gorillas using sticks to test the depth of water and another report documents nut cracking behavior in a gorilla. These reports highlight the behavioral flexibility and intelligence of great apes and indicate how little we actually know about our closest living relatives. These observations lend further urgency to the need to develop conservation plans to protect the great apes from extinction.

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