In April, a chimp in The Netherlands took down a drone being used to film the Burgers' Zoo:

A chimpanzee at Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands used a long stick to take down a drone that was flying near the animals. The drone was destroyed but the camera continued filming. (YouTube/Burgers' Zoo)

 

Now researchers have published their analysis of the clip in the journal Primates, and they're quite impressed.

In addition to showing a stellar example of tool use -- which chimps are pretty great at -- researchers now say the video shows that the chimp planned out its actions in advance.


A female chimpanzee named Tushi uses a stick to "attack" the drone. Behind her Raimee is sitting also with a long stick. (Royal Burger's Zoo)

The drone had already flown by in a practice run, at which time it caught the attention of several chimps in the enclosure. During that flyby, several chimps were seen grabbing twigs and climbing up towards where the drone was hovering.

[Chimpanzees may be natural born killers]

And when it came back, they were ready: Two females sat where the drone was going to hover, holding long twigs. According to primatologists, their faces show exertion, but not fear -- indicating that they were acting deliberately, and not flailing around in terror at the foreign object.

"The use of the stick as a weapon in this context was a unique action," study author Jan van Hooff, a primatologist with life-long ties to the zoo, said in a statement. "It seemed deliberate, given the decision to collect it and carry it to a place where the drone might be attacked."

[The octopus that figured out how to work a camera]

That tool use is even more impressive when you remember that no humans have taught the captive chimps how to use tools. The chimps have figured out how to use at least 13 unique tools by simply watching humans go about their business at the zoo -- and they're known to select the best tool for a particular job with ease.

The incident adds to growing evidence, the authors said, that chimps plan ahead when it comes to using tools.

Read More:

Drone vs. chimp battle captured on video

Chimpanzees don’t just use tools — they have favorite tools

Wild chimpanzees drink alcoholic palm wine — and get tipsy — just like humans

Just like humans, these trout get others to do their dirty work

Your cat might not really care about you, study suggests

21 bizarre species you didn’t know existed