Thursday, August 6, 2009

Crows are Smart

From Science Daily:
New experiments by Oxford University scientists reveal that New Caledonian crows can spontaneously use up to three tools in the correct sequence to achieve a goal, something never before observed in non-human animals without explicit training. Sequential tool use has often been interpreted as evidence for advanced cognitive abilities, such as planning and analogical reasoning, but this has never been explicitly examined. . . .

In their new study, the scientists tested seven captive New Caledonian crows on a range of tasks requiring the use of up to three different tools in a sequence to retrieve food. Five crows successfully used tools in a sequence (four from their very first trial), and four repeatedly solved the most demanding three-tool condition. In this, food was placed at a depth so that it was only reachable with one particular tool, but getting that tool required the use of two other others. The crows had to use a short, available tool to drag in a longer, otherwise out-of-reach tool, and then use that longer tool to retrieve the correct, longest one. They could then use the longest tool to reach for the food morsel.

No comments: