Crows Might Be Smarter Than Some Presidents
Studying animal behavior is a relatively new field of science. Until recently we have just assumed that most animals, especially those with small brains, have instincts but not reason. We now know that among higher species the ability to learn and perform tasks and even use language and tools is not uncommon. But you still gotta love this.
A University of Auckland study has revealed that New Caledonian crows can use separate tools in quick succession to retrieve an out-of-reach snack. The birds were using reasoning that was more commonly seen in great apes and humans, the New Zealand team reported in the journal Current Biology.
The scientists set up an experiment to test the birds ability to solve a complex problem requiring the use of two tools.
The crows were presented with:
- A scrap of meat, which was tucked away, out of reach, in a box;
- A small twig, which was too short to reach the food;
- Another longer twig, which was long enough to reach the food, but was hidden away well out of bill-grabbing range in another box.
When freed, the crow immediately took the short twig, used it to get to the larger twig, then took the larger twig and used it to get to the food. The scientists were amazed at how quickly the crow figured out the problem.
You can see the video here. I just love stories like this.