Tooling around

Image: Macquarie University

Believe or not, fishes use tools to eat.Researchers from Macquarie University and Central Queensland University photographed a Black Spot Tusk Fish (Choerodon schoenleinii) smashing a cockle shell against a flat surface to break it open. The fish used the rock as the anvil and its head like a hammer — the shell was in its mouth, so the impact broke it. Some seabirds have been observed breaking shells open against rocks by dropping them from a height, but underwater “dropping” was thought to be impossible. The skills shown by Tusk Fish makes this adaptive technique — using its head to control the pressure put upon the shell — quite a nifty trick.

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