Friday, November 30, 2012

Spear-Fishing Organgutans

This is old hat, 2008, but I hadn’t run across it before: the spear-fishing orangutan. He’d observed people fishing and decided to give it a whack. The report said, “Although the method required too much skill for him to master, he was later able to improvise by using the pole to catch fish already trapped in the locals’ fishing lines.”

What I find remarkable, as much as the orangutan’s ability to figure out a complex problem, is the fact that it was a fish-eater. Orangutans eat fish? Who knew? Did they learn it from people? Gee, what could a couple million years of fish-eating do to the orangutans? How about if we threw in a few bush babies?

Process that along with the image of the orangutan mother filmed taking her baby into the canoe for a paddle on the pond. She undoubtedly learned that from people, too. How much can an orangutan learn? I’m impressed.

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