Here’s another great reason to visit the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, you might be lucky enough to see fish using tools…

On the 12th November 2006 Scott Gardner observed a Blackspot Tuskfish using a rock as an anvil to open a cockle shell. Fragments of shell around the rock suggest it had been used a few times to crack open the hard shell so the fish could get to the food inside.

While reports of fish using rocks to assist in opening shells are not new – these photos are perhaps the first photographic evidence of this behaviour.

Jane Goodall is considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees and defines tool use as “the use of an external object as a functional extension of mouth or hand in the attainment of an immediate goal.”

While some people might debate the use of a rock by a fish to open a shell as ‘tool use’, as defined by Jane Goodall, the use of a rock as an anvil instead of a hammer may actually be a sign of intelligence as manipulating a hitting tool suspended in water would be less effective than an anvil.

However you look at it, we think it’s pretty neat!

fish using tools at the great barrier reef australia

If you’re looking to visit the reef during your stay at Thala Beach Lodge boats depart to The Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas and Cairns daily and pickup from the resort. Contact us for more information.