Brazilian monkeys have invented a completely new fishing technique…for termites, that is. Now they just have to figure out a way to transfer those skills to the water.
From this story on discovery.com:
Dumb blonde jokes don’t apply to wild blonde capuchins. These clever, fair-haired monkeys have invented a new and tool-conserving method to fish for termites, researchers have just discovered. The technique, reported in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, has never been documented before for primates, including humans. In fact, people who recently tried out the new five-step termite fishing method found that it worked better than anything else at retrieving the nutritious, yet pesky, insects, which some human cultures eat too.
_The monkey’s diet consists of fruits, spiders, small vertebrates, an occasional sweet sip of sugar cane, and insects, including termites. The scientists noticed that three male blonde capuchins used a unique, multi-step method to extract termites from nests located high in the forest canopy, up to around 33 feet above the ground. With his semi-prehensile tail wrapped around a tree branch, the monkey sits in a squatting position on a limb. The individual next taps on the sides of the termite nest before breaking a branchlet off the tree. Using a rotating motion, the monkey inserts the stick into the nest. Upon retrieval, he inspects the stick and then eats the attached termites.