Puffin Shocks Scientists By Using a Tool To Scratch Itself

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For the first time ever, researchers have captured footage of an Icelandic puffin using a stick as a tool to scratch and itch. The adorable video has created speculation that there are several other species that may be using tools for purposes other than foraging for food—we just haven’t captured it on film yet. This also creates new opportunities to study seabird cognition. What do elephants, chimps, rats, and octopuses have in common? These animals have all exhibited the ability to problem solve and use tools which are important markers of intelligence. For instance, New Caledonian crows enjoy being self-sufficient and have learned how to use tools to help them access food in hard to reach spaces. Dolphins—plus a slew of other animals including salmon, sea turtles, and honeybees—are sensitive to magnetism , indicating the possibility that they might have a compass in their heads. And then we’ve got ants , who have figured out that sticking together in massive colonies, where each individual has a role to play, is the best path to survival. But crows aren’t the only birds who have some serious smarts. In fact, recent footage—“the first-ever of its kind”—shows a puffin using a stick […]

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