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Animal Tool Behavior

, 304 pages

94 b&w photos, 15 line drawings

April 2011



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Animal Tool Behavior

The Use and Manufacture of Tools by Animals

revised and updated edition

When published in 1980, Benjamin B. Beck’s Animal Tool Behavior was the first volume to catalog and analyze the complete literature on tool use and manufacture in non-human animals. Beck showed that animals—from insects to primates—employed different types of tools to solve numerous problems. His work inspired and energized legions of researchers to study the use of tools by a wide variety of species.

In this revised and updated edition of the landmark publication, Robert W. Shumaker and Kristina R. Walkup join Beck to reveal the current state of knowledge regarding animal tool behavior. Through a comprehensive synthesis of the studies produced through 2010, the authors provide an updated and exact definition of tool use, identify new modes of use that have emerged in the literature, examine all forms of tool manufacture, and address common myths about non-human tool use. Specific examples involving invertebrates, birds, fish, and mammals describe the differing levels of sophistication of tool use exhibited by animals.

Robert W. Shumaker is the vice president of life sciences at the Indianapolis Zoo, the author of Orangutans, and coauthor, with Benjamin B. Beck, of Primates in Question. Kristina R. Walkup is an adjunct assistant professor at Drake University. Benjamin B. Beck is the director of conservation at Great Ape Trust.

" Animal Tool Behavior is a read for a wide audience of individuals interested in understanding not only the range of behaviors of which non-human animals are capable, but also cognition, conceptualized both as a set of abilities and as an array of mental operations."

"Reading about how busy all these tool-users are is a delight, an introduction to a unique way of regarding a fascinating aspect of animal behavior."


"A true encyclopedia of animal tool use and as such I highly recommend it for every library that serves zoologists and/or behavioral scientists as well as for major public libraries."

"I highly recommend this publication to anyone who is interested in animal behavior. It would be a wonderful textbook for advanced undergraduate courses and for graduate-level seminars in biology, psychology, and anthropology programs."

"This book is a landmark publication that will stimulate, guide and advance animal tool-use research for decades to come... Brimming with exciting natural history and presented with admirable rigour and scholarship."

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