Refusing to wait for the aid of bi-pedal liberators, 8 capuchin monkeys took matters into their own hands January 11th and broke out of a Brazilian zoo. The monkeys utilized a rock to smash open the lock on their cage and made a break for it under cover of darkness. Apparently this isn’t the first time monkeys have tried to escape the small community zoo, but workers say using a stone tool has been their most surprising and effective method yet.
Unfortunately four of the monkeys have been recaptured. Three of them were caught using traps baited with fruit. The fourth monkey was captured after it broke into a restaurant. “It was a surprise because this isn’t the jungle here, and to have [a monkey] enter my establishment,” said the restaurant owner. “It was fun.”
According to an article posted on treehugger.com on the incident, “Capuchin monkeys are thought to be the most intelligent of the New World monkeys, exhibiting a remarkable ability to use stone tools. Researchers have observed capuchins in the wild gathering rocks, often collected from great distances away, to help them to crack open hard nuts. This skill is passed on generationally as younger monkeys learn by watching their elders.
“Applying this same tool usage to the novel task of breaking locks, however, indicates an extraordinary use of logic to solve the unnatural dilemma of their captivity. But what’s more, perhaps, is the fundamental desire which guided their actions: the longing to be free.”