Subject: Info: Tool use in orcas (fwd)

Michael Williamson (pita)
Mon, 1 Feb 1996 09:10:51

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Date: Thu, 01 Feb 1996 09:08:27 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Williamson <>
Subject: Info: ?Tool use? in orcas (fwd)
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Date: Tue, 30 Jan 1996 17:05:36 -0500
To: Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
Subject: Re: ?Tool use? in orcas
When I was working with the White Marline Porpoise Circus in Port Aransas,
Texas, I watched a dolphin there, named Pete (a bottlenose from Florida) do
a similar thing.  There was a pelican that would steal his fish if we threw
them in the wrong direction, so it seemed Pete was tired of this.
One day between shows, we noticed about 8 fish, about 2-6 inches under the
surface, in a circular ring, fairly evenly spaced.  As they would sink, Pete
went around to each one, pushing each one in turn, to the surface.  The pelican
appeared interested and wary.  After about 10 minutes of this, the pelican
flew and dove for one of the fish -- Pete grabbed him, and took him to the
bottom and drowned him.
First time I had thought of this as "tool use".  This shows that the behavior
occurs in tursiops as well.