“Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy naval, and marrow to thy bones.”
At one time textbooks defined man as the only tool-using animal. But then they discovered a number of animals that do use tools. So the definition of man was changed to say that man was the only animal that uses and makes tools. Before long, however, scientists began to discover that many of those tool-using animals actually make their own tools.
For example, chimpanzees will make tools out of sticks and grass to help them fish termites out of logs and trees. Chimps chew leaves to make a sponge that comes in handy for soaking water out of hard-to-drink-from places. Gorillas have been seen using crooked sticks to pull ripe fruit into reach. Elephants use sticks for back-scratchers. The California sea otter uses a stone to break open clamshells. The Galapagos woodpecker finch uses a stick or cactus spine to fish for grubs in trees, and the satin bower bird makes a paint brush out of bark to paint the inside of its bower. But notice that more non-primates than primates make and use tools.
Our growing knowledge of the gift of intelligence that God has given to the animal world clearly shows that tool-making and tool-using have nothing to do with any supposed evolutionary development. But it does lead us to stand in wonder and thanksgiving at God’s goodness towards His Creation!
Heavenly Father, help me to understand that intelligence, ability and even understanding itself are all Your gifts to us and not our own accomplishments. Help me to avoid pride and to use Your gifts as You would have me use them. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Jane Van Lawick-Goodall. “Tool-Using Bird: The Egyptian Vulture.” National Geographic, Vol. 133, No. 5, pp. 633-641. Photo: Chimpanzee using a stick to gather termites. Taken at the Zoological Center of Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan in Israel.