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Baboons observed flossing their teeth at British Zoo

Previous studies have suggested that primates floss their teeth for hygienic and social purposes. Macaques in Thailand are known to use strands of human hair to floss their teeth.

DAILY MAIL: ‘Baboons at a British zoo have been observed flossing their teeth with broom bristles and their own hairs. Charlotte Morgan, an animal behaviour student at the University of Exeter, spotted the primates cleaning between their teeth at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in Devon. The behaviour was first noted at the zoo a few years ago, when a female hamadryas baboon was seen using a bristle from an old broom to floss. Previous studies have suggested that primates floss their teeth for hygienic and social purposes… Macaques in Thailand are known to use strands of human hair to floss their teeth…

Miss Morgan said it was difficult to suggest exactly how the baboons had learnt how to floss but there may be a “social learning element”… Dr Amy Plowman, director of conservation and education at the zoo, said: “Animals like dogs and even chimps can be taught to do things, which is very clever but it’s much more interesting scientifically if animals spontaneously do something with a tool without being taught, which would be the case with the baboons”.’ SOURCE…

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