Dolphins, chimpanzees, and crows all use tools to help accomplish tasks. Now, pigs have joined the club, National Geographic reports. For the first time, researchers have caught a species of swine called the Visayan warty pig using pieces of bark as a shovel to move dirt around in their nests. Researchers filmed several of the pigs in captivity as they got their nests ready to welcome piglets in the spring, and observed the animals using tools 11 times over 2 years. The team also sprinkled a few spatulas around the enclosure, in case the pigs might prefer a more easily held tool. For the most part, the swine stuck to natural tools such as bark or sticks, ignoring the spatulas, the team reports in Mammalian Biology. The researchers did not catch wind of any pigs using the tool of political power, however, so readers can rest easy knowing that Animal Farm is still fiction. For now.
Click here for free access to our latest coronavirus/COVID-19 research, commentary, and news.
Support nonprofit science journalism
Science’s extensive COVID-19 coverage is free to all readers. To support our nonprofit science journalism, please make a tax-deductible gift today.