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Long tailed macaque shows tool-use behaviour

Date: 22 March 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous


A study from IISER Mohali has looked into how long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis umbrosus) in Greater Nicobar Island handle objects and use tools to simplify their efforts.



In recent times, there has been a lot of interest among primatologists in studying object handling and tool-use in non-human primates such as apes and chimpanzees.



  • The researchers observed interesting behaviour related to object manipulation and tool use in six behavioural contexts involving eight different types of objects. They also saw that males were more frequently involved in tool use than females.

  • There is a crucial difference between tool use and object use. A tool helps the user get better outcomes. When we change either the function or structure of an object, we make it a tool. But when we use an item in the manner it is supposed to be used, we are not making it a tool it is an object use.

  • The biased nature of tool-use could be due to many reasons. It has been hypothesised that the weight of the individual has something to do with the tool-culture. 

  • For Example,  among chimpanzees, females excel in fishing, which they learn from their mothers. Males, on the other hand, become adept in hunting, which they pick up from their peers.

  • Thus there could be social, ecological as well as demographic factors that could decide how tool-culture is divided among the animals. 

  • Though the long-tailed macaques are further from humans in relatedness than chimpanzees or apes, this study could offer a perspective on evolutionary origins of tool use behaviour.
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