Clever crows

Photo: Jolyon Troscianko, University of Birmingham

Humans initially considered themselves distinct from other animals due to our ability to make and use tools. That was until Jane Goodall observed chimpanzees making using stalks of grass to "fish" for termites. But, it is not only primates that use tools. There are a surprising number of animals that use tools including, elephants, dolphins, otters, birds and octopuses (it's acceptable to use either octopuses or octopodes, but NEVER octopi).

Probably the most proficient and innovative tool maker of all is a bird. The New Caledonian crow (Corvus moneduloides) surpasses many with it's almost unbelievable ability to make and use tools. Watch the video below that I saw on Jerry Coyne's blog. After seeing the video I was amazed and did a little more research into this brilliant bird. I found this cool site from a research group at The University of Auckland, just across the road from my university. It has loads of videos and pictures, and for those who don't mind a bit reading, pdfs of some of the research articles they have published.


Pico said...

Very cool :) I think humans considering themselves separate from other species is big mistake.

Jarrod said...

I agree. Obviously we are different, but there is not reason to attempt to define ourselves as somehow better. I guess that is why I don't particularly like the term 'higher animals'.

Paul said...

Interesting that (from the UoA site) the New Caledonian crows show a level of conceptual reasoning in problem solving that was found to be absent in bonobos and other apes!

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