There would be no happiness. Coronavirus forced Thai macaques to learn tools

there would be no happiness. Coronavirus forced Thai macaques to learn tools

December 9, 14:49 Share:

Thai cynomolgus monkeys have learned to use tools because tourists stopped feeding them (Photo: Eric Bajart)

The coronavirus pandemic has forced macaques on the Thai island of Koh Ped to acquire new skills — using stone tools to get food.

The study of this unique behavior was published in the American Journal of Primatology, where primatologists described how the animals, faced with a lack of food due to the lack of tourists during the quarantine period, learned to use stones to break oyster shells.

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Before the pandemic, these cynomolgus monkeys ( Macaca fascicularis fascicularis) were generously fed by tourists. However, with strict restrictions on tourist travel to the island, the macaques faced food shortages and were forced to resort to using tools to survive.

In July 2020, when Ko Ped was temporarily closed to tourists, primatologists discovered that two adult males had begun using stones to open oyster shells.. Over time, when the scientists returned in the spring of 2023, the number of macaques using this method had grown to 17 individuals, mostly solitary males.

Although some macaques of other species have previously shown similar skills, what is unique about this case is that the Ko-Ped macaques used stone tools in a completely new way, differing in technique from other species.

Now, with the resumption of tourism, primatologists fear that the macaque's unique behavior may disappear due to loss of relevance. However, this discovery highlights the amazing adaptive abilities of animals in the face of environmental changes.