Rodents can learn how to wield tools with the proper training, according to new research from Japanís Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN). In a series of experiments conducted over a 60-day period, researchers taught six degus (small rat-like rodents) to use a miniature rake to obtain food. Each degu was placed on one side of a fence with gaps large enough for its front legs to fit through, and sunflower seeds were placed out of reach on the opposite side. The rake was placed nearby, and after 60 days of practice, all six degus learned to use it to pull the sunflower seeds to within reach. This is the first known case in which rodents have been taught to use tools.
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