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I was under impression that data about quite a lot different species using different tools is a fairly modern phenomenon, i.e., all of the research is fairly recent.

Around 50 years ago it was widely believed, by scientists too, that it was only apes that are able to use tools. I was recently told that it's basically nonsense and scientists have been studying different tool-using animals since the beginning of the 20th century or earlier.

Where could I get more info on research done in this area? I'd be especially thankful for those done in USSR, since it used to be my country and my knowledge on everything was basically limited by the Iron Curtain. However, I am also interested in research done worldwide as well.

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Best tip I can give you is buying a textbook or popular science book about ethology. That should give you an overview about research done in the past decades. Konrad Lorenz was a pioneer of ethology, so a book should summarize his work, e.g. this one

For more current stuff look up some journals in this field:

Animals having a small brain compared to mammals but nevertheless showing very intelligent and reflective behaviour like this rook are currently interesting research objects. This kind of research is not really tricky or expensive as you see, it just has to be done by a student :) But behaviorism as the leading paradigm in the middle of the 20th century has probably made a lot of more fruitful research approaches impossible.

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