Wild Bearded Capuchin Monkeys Strategically Place Nuts Before Smashing Them With Rocks

Posted on March 3, 2013

Wild Bearded Capuchin Monkey Smashing Open a Nut

Researchers have found that wild bearded capuchin monkeys deliberately place palm nuts in a stable position on a surface before trying to crack them open. In the study, monkeys were observed positioning nuts flat side down more frequently than expected by random chance. The researchers say this reveals that the monkeys are capable of using tactile information to improve tool use. The study was conducted by Dorothy Fragaszy and colleagues from the University of Georgia and published in PLoS One.

The researchers also conducted a second experiment where they blindfolded 14 people and asked them to position nuts on an anvil so that they could be cracked. They found the blindfolded humans placed the nuts in the same position as the monkeys.

Here is a video of the capuchin monkeys carefully positioning the nuts before attempting to smash them open with a rock:

Photo: Barth Wright

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