Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Tool Use

  • Camilla CenniEmail author
  • Jean-Baptiste Leca
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1541-1



Tools and other utilitarian artifacts pervade humans’ lives. They have played such a pivotal role in theories of human evolution that tool use has traditionally been considered a behavioral indicator of complex and flexible cognition. While this early promise has long triggered and maintained keen scientific interest for the study of tool use in nonhuman animals, it may also have revived some naïve anthropomorphic and even anthropocentric biases, particularly when studying species that are evolutionarily close to humans. It is noteworthy that not all cases of tool use necessarily imply high levels of cognitive sophistication, and we should not automatically attribute some of our psychological characteristics to other tool-using species, just because tools are part of our human identity. In fact, tool use is a broad functional category of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Dawson Clary
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada