A spontaneous experiment has been going on at the Paris zoo for several years now to observe how pigs learn tools. It all started in 2014, when zoologist Meredith Ruth-Bernstein noticed an oddity - a Visayan warty pig named Priscilla purposefully grabbed a piece of bark and started digging the ground with it. This is a completely wild animal that has never been trained and could not learn such behavior from anyone.
Modern science places pigs in terms of intellectual development quite high, like chimpanzees and dogs. And for them it is quite normal to master various tricks and commands, provided that someone will purposefully teach them. But the independent use of foreign objects for a specific purpose - this is the first time scientists have observed this. They set up surveillance on Priscilla and it yielded conflicting results.
The pig actually uses the bark to dig holes, about once every six months, before the piglets are born. The pit is shallow, it is covered with leaves and becomes a den. The other adult pigs in the enclosure did not do this, but in the second year, some of Priscilla's grown-up children also began to pick up sticks and bark for digging holes. Most intriguingly, this did not give them any advantage over using their own hooves - why did the pigs do this?
Scientists staged provocations to pigs, hid sticks and put in their place others, crooked and uncomfortable. They also left small paddles in the enclosure for the pigs to use. But they ignored them, there were only two attempts to dig with a shovel, after which the animals returned to their favorite sticks. The observation of this spontaneous evolution of guinea pigs continues.