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A tool can be defined as any object that provides a specific mechanical advantage when carrying out a task. Tool use, then, can simply be thought of as the act of using an object to help achieve a specific goal. Although the range of tools used by humans is extensive, this entry focuses on the use of common hand tools, such as hammers or spatulas.

Both humans and some other species are known to use tools, but the sophistication of their tool use differs considerably. It was once thought that only humans were capable of tool use, but in recent decades, tool use has been observed among a variety of nonhuman species. For example, among the natural behavior of wild chimpanzees, the use of sticks to ...

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