The researchers also set up "ghost demonstrations," to determine Figaro's role in teaching the tool behavior. In the ghost demo, the scientists magnetically maneuvered nuts out from the cage toward Figaro as other cockatoos watched nearby.
Unimpressed by the spookiness of a ghost demo, the cockatoos were less likely to learn to use sticks this way - instead, most took up their sticks after watching Figaro's live demonstration. But Figaro's students didn't simply regurgitate their newfound knowledge of tools. The apprentices became even more adept than their teacher, according to the University of Oxford press release:
Figaro held tools by their tips, inserted them through the cage grid at different heights and raked the nuts towards him while adjusting the tool's position as the target moved closer. The successful observers, instead, laid the sticks on the ground and propelled the nuts into their reach by a quick ballistic flipping movement. The latter technique was arguably more efficient for the test circumstances, which differed from those in which Figaro had made his first discovery; the pupils in this sense surpassed the teacher's performance.