(Animals) 도토리 잘 까지는 돌 골라내는 원숭이들

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By HENRY FOUNTAIN ⓒ 2009 New York Times News Service It’s a simple rule: If you want a job done right, choose the right tool for the job. 그것은 아주 간단한 이치이다: 작업을 제대로 해내려면, 거기에 맞는 연장을 택해야 한다. Carpenters know it well; so do plumbers, masons and car mechanics, to name a few trades. 목수들은 그러한 규칙을 잘 알고 있다; 몇 가지 직종들을 예로 들자면, 염관공도, 석공도 자동차 수리공도 마찬가지이다. And capuchin monkeys, apparently. 게다가 ‘카푸친’ 원숭이들도 그런 것 같다. Researchers have found that bearded capuchin monkeys in the wild will select the most effective stone for use in cracking nuts, rejecting those that are too light or crumbly. They make the right choice by looking at the stones but also by lifting or tapping them if necessary. 리서처들은 야생 수염 달린 ‘카푸친’ 원숭이들이 도토리, 후두 같은 견과를 돌로 까려고 할 때 너무 가볍거나 부스러지기 쉬운 것은 버리고 가장 잘 까질 돌을 고른다는 것을 발견했다. 그들은 돌을 관찰하여 오른 선택을 할 뿐 아니라 필요하면 돌을 들어 보거나 두드려 보기도 한다. Elisabetta Visalberghi of the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the National Research Council in Rome and colleagues studied a group of the monkeys in Brazil that was discovered in 2003 to use stones as hammers to open palm nuts, which are difficult to crack. Until then there had been only a few anecdotal reports of tool use by these primates. The researchers left stones of various sizes and types around and observed as the monkeys chose from among two or three. In almost all cases the monkeys had no trouble picking the most solid, heaviest stone, the researchers report in Current Biology. “They seemed to know immediately that weight is absolutely necessary,” Dr. Visalberghi said. Other than in humans, such tool selectivity had been shown only in chimpanzees, which are closely related to humans. Capuchins are much more distant relatives. “Here we showed that a species removed from humans 35 million years ago is capable of being extremely selective in terms of tool use,” Dr. Visalberghi said. “I’m far from arguing that this is extremely special and unique. Perhaps it is simpler than we expected.” (ⓒ 2009 The New York Times) (ⓒ2009 usabriefing.net)
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