Rodents rake in rewards

Jacek555 [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

In new research aimed at identifying brain changes that underlie the development of tool-use ability, scientists have taught captive rodents to use tools. This is the first report of such training in rodents. Atsushi Iriki and colleagues at the Brain Science Institute (RIKEN, Saitama, Japan) trained a group of five degus (Octodon degus), small rodents native to Chile, to reach through a fence, grasp a rake and use it to retrieve a food reward that would be otherwise out of reach.

Lab Anim. (NY) 37, 188 (2008).
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