Imagine diving in Austrlia’s Great Barrier Reef only to see a fish…using a tool.
Upon hearing a clinking nose, diver Scott Gardner saw what appeared to be a tuskfish banging a clam shell against a rock to open it, the most primitive form of tool use.
A tool is defined as anything which helps complete a certain function. In this particular case, it means using a rock to open a clam shell.
Although humans have been reliant on tools throughout various stages of evolution, other animals like primates, birds, dolphins, elephants, and octupuses have also been known to use tools.
While its long been suspected fish may have used tools in the past, Gardner’s photos offer the first shred of photographic evidence confirming the idea.
The tool-bearing tuskfish is slated to appear in an academic paper on the subject co-authored by Culum Brown, a behavioral ecologist at Macquarie Unviversity in Australia. Brown says the photo reveals other crushed shells around the rock – proving that tool use is a skilled and learned behavior by the fish.
As expected, the above-mentioned findings prompted some controversy, with certain naysayers claiming that a tuskfish banging a clam shell isn’t a valid example of actual tool use by a fish.