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Tool use by brown bear described

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Published : March 6, 2012 - 09:55

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Photo by Volker Deecke Photo by Volker Deecke

A British researcher says he's witnessed a bear in Alaska using a stone to exfoliate, the first time a bear has definitively been known to use a tool.

Volker Deecke of the University of Cumbria was on holiday in Alaska's Glacier Bay national park in July 2011 when he spotted a brown bear in shallow water pick up a small, barnacle-covered rock and rub it over its face for a minute, NewScientist.com reported.

The bear was moulting, Deecke said, and had big patches of fur hanging off its skin.

Bear that are moulting sometimes scratch themselves with their claws or rub up against trees.

"The barnacles may have given that exfoliating feeling," Deecke said.

After a minute or so, the bear dropped the rock, he said, but then it picked up another one and began rubbing itself some more.

Bears have large brains for their body size suggesting they are clever, Deecke said, although he acknowledged too few tests of bear cognition have ever been conducted to say for sure. (UPI)

 

<한글 기사>


'곰도 도구 쓴다' 최초 발견!


미국 알래스카에서 돌을 이용해 털갈이를 하는 곰이 최초로 발견되어 화제가 되고 있다.

UPI통신이 5일(현지시간) 보도한 바에 따르면 영국 학자 볼커 디크가 알래스카 국립공원에서 휴가를 보내던 도중 갈색 곰 (brown bear)이 따개비가 붙어있는 돌을 집어 들어 1분간 얼굴을 문지르는 것을 목격해 사진에 담았다고 한다.

곰이 털갈이를 할 때 발톱을 이용해 몸을 긁거나 나무에 비비기도 하지만 이처럼 ‘도구’를 이용하는 사례는 알려져 있지 않다.

곰은 몸에 비해 큰 두뇌를 갖고 있기 때문에 영리한 것으로 추정된다고 디크는 밝혔다. 그러나 그는 아직 곰의 인지능력에 대한 실험 사례가 너무 적기 때문에 확신은 할 수 없다고 덧붙였다.