“It’s the first time the use of a tool has been documented in reptiles, according to the study published in the current edition of Ethology, Ecology and Evolution.” cnn.com It seems the gators gather sticks on their snouts, then lie quietly in the water waiting for a hapless bird to try to perch. Lunging suddenly, the gator grabs the bird. They use the stick ploy more often during nesting season when birds are collecting sticks for nest-building.
Once, we humans tried to define ourselves as the animals that use tools. Then we discovered chimpanzees use tools, then that birds use tools. Now alligators. If we insist that being human is not a matter of degree, but requires a unique capability, perhaps we can say humans are the animals that compose poetry. That may work, at least until we understand porpoises.