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Crow intelligence rivals that of a 7-year-old


Posted on Friday, 28 March, 2014 | Comment icon 46 comments

Crows have long been considered intelligent birds. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 R. Altenkamp
Researchers have discovered that some species of crow are remarkably adept at problem solving.
To determine just how clever these birds actually are, a series of experiments were carried out in which New Caledonian crows were tasked with solving a number of simple puzzles that rewarded them with some food if they got it right.

The most telling of these conundrums was the classic water displacement test - the birds were faced with a number of water-filled tubes with food floating on the surface just out of reach. To get the treat they had to drop items in to the water to raise the surface level.

Amazingly the crows appeared to know exactly what to do, selecting solid non-floating objects to drop in to the tubes. The birds also seemed to demonstrate logical decision-making by opting to work on the tube with the highest existing water level. The crows didn't do so well however on tasks involving a U-shaped tube or where the tube's width came in to play.

"These results are striking as they highlight both the strengths and limits of the crows' understanding," said lead researcher Sarah Jelbert. "In particular, the crows all failed a task which violated normal causal rules, but they could pass the other tasks, which suggests they were using some level of causal understanding when they were successful."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (46)

Tags: Crow, Intelligence

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #37 Posted by Myles on 2 April, 2014, 12:14
Imagine building a computer on one hand (ok maybe that's possible), or doing a factory assembly job (my job) on one hand. I couldn't do it, nobody could do it. Nor basic blacksmithing in many cases, you need both tongs and the hammer. And it's not like elephants have two sticks they could hold together. No need to go to an egotrip because we have useful hands and longevity. But he's right. No matter how it came to be, humans are the most intelligent.
Comment icon #38 Posted by Mikko-kun on 2 April, 2014, 12:25
But he's right. No matter how it came to be, humans are the most intelligent. Depends how you measure intelligence. You measure it in terms of technology and regard that as the only obvious meter, sure. I dont, however, but the actual thinking capacity. Technology is just a result of being able to use your body like that, of evolving a more handy body. Though humans are more intelligent in the physical field, we're more intelligent in how we use our body certainly. But as far as base intelligence goes, I dont know...
Comment icon #39 Posted by Myles on 2 April, 2014, 15:46
Depends how you measure intelligence. You measure it in terms of technology and regard that as the only obvious meter, sure. I dont, however, but the actual thinking capacity. Technology is just a result of being able to use your body like that, of evolving a more handy body. Though humans are more intelligent in the physical field, we're more intelligent in how we use our body certainly. But as far as base intelligence goes, I dont know... It takes more than the body. Humans also have the mind to do what other animals cannot.
Comment icon #40 Posted by Abramelin on 30 May, 2014, 10:11
Amazing news, but why don't we spend the money on fixing the damn economy that some of these stupid tests take up? We already know crows are smart as hell... Well, you do if you read. Talking about economy... you can let these crows work for you:
Comment icon #41 Posted by Harte on 30 May, 2014, 11:19
"Crow workers of the world unite!" Krowl Marx
Comment icon #42 Posted by Babe Ruth on 30 May, 2014, 11:49
Yes, this is quite old news. Crows are even known to have funerals for fallen comrades. And many studies are now placing them as smart as primates. I have personally observed peacocks "mourning" a fallen comrade.
Comment icon #43 Posted by Harte on 30 May, 2014, 14:36
You can tell the primates are smarter because chimps have been observed conspiring to, and then commiting, murder. Harte
Comment icon #44 Posted by lightly on 30 May, 2014, 23:14
I didn't know that about chimps ^ . Strange, and sad imo, that so called higher brain functions would result in such devious and violent behavior. I have to question the true intelligence of a species that , knowing the dangers, goes ahead and develops things like nuclear arsenals. It's seems that our brains still lag well behind our Brawn.
Comment icon #45 Posted by Lilly on 30 May, 2014, 23:39
I've always liked crows, I figured out early on that they were quite smart. It appears they are even smarter than I imagined.
Comment icon #46 Posted by Realm on 1 June, 2014, 4:08
No wonder they gather human stuff, like coins etc.. "That's mine get your own!" Yep, just like a 7 year old.


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