It wasn’t enough for the bears to steal cars, play hockey, and do other awesome things, now they have also been observed using tools without any training. It’s rare to see tool use in mammals other than primates, yet Volker B. Deecke at the University of Cumbria has observed a wild brown bear in Alaska using a rock to exfoliate:
The animal repeatedly picked up barnacle-encrusted rocks in shallow water, manipulated and re-oriented them in its forepaws, and used them to rub its neck and muzzle. The behaviour probably served to relieve irritated skin or to remove food-remains from the fur. Bears habitually rub against stationary objects and overturn rocks and boulders during foraging and such rubbing behaviour could have been transferred to a freely movable object to classify as tool-use. The bear exhibited considerable motor skills when manipulating the rocks, which clearly shows that these animals possess the advanced motor learning necessary for tool-use. Advanced spatial cognition and motor skills for object manipulation during feeding and tool-use provide a possible explanation for why bears have the largest brains relative to body size of all carnivores. [AnimalCognition via io9]
That dry skin must have been unbearable. Ha ha ha. Seriously though, we’re all going to die.
We wonder if that bear has relatives in Japan:
Ho! Haha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust!
OH NO. HE FOUND A LIGHTSABER.
[Image credit: TastefullyOffensive]