An ecologist at a zoo in Paris has documented the first ever instance of Visayan warty pigs using tools. Every six months, the endangered species dig out shallow nests in the first to prepare for the birth of piglets, typically by burrowing with their snouts. At the Musée de l'Homme, a museum of anthropology in the heart of the French capital, a researcher saw one of the pigs take a stick in its mouth and began using it as a shovel to scrape out a nest.
A Visayan warty pig (pictured above) in captivity in Paris uses a stick to dig out a small nest for its piglets
Whenever nesting season would return, the warty pig would find a stick and burrow, though the pigs didn't shows signs of tool use at any other time during the year.
Over the course of three years, she observe both the mother and father pig using tools a total of 11 times.
As part of her research, she introduced four kitchen spatulas to the pig habitat to see if they might prefer those slightly more efficient tools.
Root-Bernstein observed one pig try the spatula out on two separate occasions, but sticks seemed to be their preferred helper.
Tool use has long been considered a major milestone in animal intelligence.
'It brings us closer to animals, and helps us realize it's all connected,' Root-Bernstein told National Geographic.