Cow uses horns to reach high up branches
So here we have a cow that seems to be more interested in eating the pine needles off a tree than the grass on the ground (matter of preference, I guess) but all of the branches seem to be just barely out of reach- from his mouth that is. Not one to give up easily, we see the cow use his horns to snap and then eat the branches that would normally be out of reach.
1. Is this video indicative of a cow using a tool?
2. If so, what would be the difference between an animal using a tool where they could see what they were doing vs. not being able to see? (Imagine the difference in difficulty between using a pair of scissors to cut a piece of paper in front of you vs. cutting the hair on the back of your head). What advanced cognitive abilities are required to complete the difference task?
3. Assuming the difficulties are different, is this cow’s case the same? Could the cow be using higher cognitive abilities to affect the branch with his horns (which would both be out of view while he performs the behavior)? Think here about a.) proprioception: knowing the position of your body parts relative to the other parts of your body and b.) exteroception- knowing the position of your body parts relative to your environment.
4. How do you think this kind of behavior developed? Do all cows do it? If so, is it inherent/geneteic/‘pre-programmed’? If not, is it just this one cow?
5. If it is just this one cow, how did it figure it out? Problem solving? Trial and error? Sheer chance with repetition? Can this behavior be taught- can another cow watch this cow and figure out how to do it?