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Chimp replays 'Aesop's fable' by spitting water into tube to reach peanut

June 9, 2011 - London

A chimp was videotaped replaying one of "Aesop's fables" by taking water from a dispenser and spitting it into a tube to reach a peanut.

In Aesop's 2,000-year-old tale, a crow uses stones to raise the water level in a pitcher to reach the liquid so as to quench its thirst.

But when given a similar set up, chimps were able to attain an out-of-reach, floating peanut by spitting water taken from a dispenser into a vertical tube.

One hungry chimp went even further by urinating into the vessel to get hold of the prized snack.

"He was spitting water into the tube, then got frustrated," the BBC quoted lead researcher Daniel Hanus from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Leipzig, Germany, as saying.

"So he started peeing and then he realised: 'Wait a minute, if I move in that direction, that fills up the tube'," he explained.

He added the chimp's unusual method proved successful, and the fact that the peanut was urine-sodden did not deter the animal from eating it.

The study, carried out with gorillas and chimpanzees, has been published in Plos One journal.


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