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Crows could be key to understanding alien

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Crows could be the key to understanding alien intelligence

quote:

We've studied brain structure pretty extensively in mammals from humans and apes to whales and mice. But German neuroscientists Lena Veit and Andreas Nieder are the first to watch what happens in crow brains as these birds worked their way through a series of brain-teasers. They actually wired the crows' brains up with electrodes, watching as individual neurons fired when the crows did a test that required abstract reasoning. What Veit and Nieder found reveals a lot about what intelligence looks like in a brain that's nothing like our own.

and

What this experiment suggests is that two dramatically different species might have similar abstract reasoning abilities — even if their brains are completely unlike each other. If we imagine that intelligence can only dwell in a mammal-like brain, we may miss out on discovering smart life forms elsewhere. The crow brain may be the first truly alien intelligence we've been able to study.

http://io9.com/crows-could-be-the-key-to-understanding-alien-intellige-1480720559

All well and good. But the biggest issue is to find the damned aliens, and hopefully finding smart ones

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crows are frickin' awesome. I used to watch them a lot when i was a kid (yeah, there were no Xboxes yet...).

They do the most amazing things that clearly show intelligence, most generally in problem-solving. Not only can they use tools, they can even use US! Enjoy your daily dose of Attenborrough voice:

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I hate those damn things. Ugly and noisy.

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The crow brain may be the first truly alien intelligence we've been able to study.

Which part of them is alien?

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Which part of them is alien?

Did you not read the article thoroughly?

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Nasty critters, though (ask a raven): not for nothing is a flock of crows properly called "a murder of crows."

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I used to be annoyed by crows until I watched a documentary on them and learned how incredibly intelligent they are.

at night I like to listen to them talk to one another from tree to tree - they have a language that is interesting and complex

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I actually like crows, they're damn smart little critters.

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Nasty critters, though (ask a raven): not for nothing is a flock of crows properly called "a murder of crows."

seriously! when my daughter was around 3, she called me and asked "what are these birds doing?" When i looked out of the window she was pointing at, i saw a gang of crows hack a blackbird to death.... :cry:

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Which part of them is alien?

the article says they are believed to be bionic drones, from Planet Tau Xi Zeta. When they poop on your car, that means you're chosen for abduction!

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Did you not read the article thoroughly?

No, I am freaking 12 years old and live in my mother's basement.

Here's the abstract for the paper quoted, just for light 2nd grade reading:

Despite the lack of a layered neocortex and fundamental differences in endbrain organization in birds compared with mammals, intelligent species evolved from both vertebrate classes. Among birds, corvids show exceptional cognitive flexibility. Here we explore the neuronal foundation of corvid cognition by recording single-unit activity from an association area known as the nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL) while carrion crows make flexible rule-guided decisions, a hallmark of executive control functions. The most prevalent activity in NCL represents the behavioural rules, while abstracting over sample images and sensory modalities of the rule cues. Rule coding is weaker in error trials, thus predicting the crows’ behavioural decisions. This suggests that the abstraction of general principles may be an important function of the NCL, mirroring the function of primate prefrontal cortex. These findings emphasize that intelligence in vertebrates does not necessarily rely on a neocortex but can be realized in endbrain circuitries that developed independently via convergent evolution.

Edited by Xynoplas

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the article says they are believed to be bionic drones, from Planet Tau Xi Zeta. When they poop on your car, that means you're chosen for abduction!

zoser? Is it you, zoser?

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There was a movie about a crow who had the ability to peck a headstone and bring a recently deceased back to life. Miraculous creatures, crows. :yes:

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I like crows, they're smart enough to work out how to eat a cane toad AND spread that information to other crows.

the process actually involves tool usage.

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I used to be annoyed by crows until I watched a documentary on them and learned how incredibly intelligent they are.

at night I like to listen to them talk to one another from tree to tree - they have a language that is interesting and complex

How do you tell them to shut up? And what do crows need to talk about anyway?

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How do you tell them to shut up? And what do crows need to talk about anyway?

and..

and

6 Terrifying Ways Crows Are Way Smarter Than You Think

http://www.cracked.com/article_19042_6-terrifying-ways-crows-are-way-smarter-than-you-think.html#ixzz2nruxAwKh

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Now, attempting to be serious. This is an example of what they call a cognitive bias (or some other kind of bias, there are many). If started to act like a crow (basically took my clothes off, climbed a tree and pooped everywhere), you wouldn't say, "my what a smart little man", no you'd have me carted off. ;) You wouldn't be impressed if I aced that little test with the sticks (which is pretty cool BTW).

So a crow is pretty smart for a bird, because we don't expect much from birds. Animals do what they need to survive, and I think they are capable of a lot of intelligence we don't give them credit for. I've known some surprisingly smart lizards, for instance.

But we are still measuring another creature's intelligence by our own yardstick.

A being from a completely different planet would, I think, be wired completely different. Science, I think, will not recognize alien life when they first look at it. And science will not recognize alien intelligence when they first run into it as well.

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A being from a completely different planet would, I think, be wired completely different.

BINGO! Well done! That was what the article meant about the 'alien' bit. Crows...are wired completely different :tu:

Edit to add:

From the OP

"What Veit and Nieder found reveals a lot about what intelligence looks like in a brain that's nothing like our own".

.

Edited by seeder
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They actually have been documented as using fire too, Abe put me onto a book and posted the info out where they were observed pick up embers and dropping them to flush out prey.

I agree with Scowl, noisy nasty things, but I have to admit, they sure have surprised me, I think the article is more than interesting, and thought provoking, top stuff seeder :tu:

Edited by psyche101
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Veit and Nieder in their paper say nothing about "alien" intelligence. This is IO9's hype; it was a slow news day. \

Crow intelligence is remarkable, but terrestrial.

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Veit and Nieder in their paper say nothing about "alien" intelligence. This is IO9's hype; it was a slow news day. \

Crow intelligence is remarkable, but terrestrial.

In this instance 'alien' doesn't mean extraterrestrial, just different than us (humans).

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They actually have been documented as using fire too, Abe put me onto a book and posted the info out where they were observed pick up embers and dropping them to flush out prey.

Arsonists! Like I need more reasons not to like these things!

BTW, I feed the sparrows and chickadees (and indirectly the squirrels) in my neighborhood because they behave themselves.

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Veit and Nieder in their paper say nothing about "alien" intelligence. This is IO9's hype; it was a slow news day. \

Crow intelligence is remarkable, but terrestrial.

I got the impression that the article indicated that a Crow's Brain can solve problems like ours, but developed, and works in a very different way, giving us a better understanding of a brain that is Unique to Intelligent species in our pool of one.

It's giving us a different map of how that incredibly complex centre can be constructed and how that construction functions. I did not get the impression that it meant Crows were Little Green Men. In fact, I am unsure how people are coming to that conclusion.

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Arsonists! Like I need more reasons not to like these things!

:lol::rofl::lol::tu:

And they make a damn mess with Garbage bins too! Currawongs are not a great deal better either!

BTW, I feed the sparrows and chickadees (and indirectly the squirrels) in my neighborhood because they behave themselves.

I have some lovely Rosellas, finches, and Kookaburra's and Cockatoos as well as rather quite a selection of Parrots that visit fairly regularly, I like them, but Cockatoos tend to steal all my passionfruit. Only the White ones though, the Black Ones tend to sit up in the trees more. Saw Kookaburras mating a few weeks ago, pretty darn rough.

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crows are frickin' awesome. I used to watch them a lot when i was a kid (yeah, there were no Xboxes yet...).

They do the most amazing things that clearly show intelligence, most generally in problem-solving. Not only can they use tools, they can even use US! Enjoy your daily dose of Attenborrough voice:

[media=]

[/media]

Holy **** Crows waiting for the light to turn Green to collect the Nuts after the Cars cracked them open? Thats ******* Genius for a Animal. Now if only they can teach Deer to look both ways before crossing American roads would be a safer place. 

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