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Young ravens rival adult chimps for smarts


Eldorado

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Scientists and casual observers alike have known for years that ravens and their corvid relatives are extremely smart. But most studies use single experiments that provide a limited view of their overall intelligence.

“Quite often, in single tasks, you’re just testing whether the bird can understand that you’re hiding something,” says Simone Pika, a cognitive scientist at Osnabrück University in Germany.

A new study that tries to address that deficit provides some of the best proof yet that ravens, including young birds of just four months of age, have certain types of smarts that are on par with those of adult great apes.

The brainy birds performed just as well as chimpanzees and orangutans across a broad array of tasks designed to measure intelligence.

Full article at Scientific American: Link

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Of particular interest, and something often not given enough attention to, is, as the final two paragraphs of the article state, the relationship between us and apes that we test, and the relationship between us and ravens, or in fact any non primate species.

Testing apes is comparitively easy as we are physically very similar, hands being prominent, and are only separated from our common ancestor by about 6 million years. We can see ourselves in chimps, and they may well see something similar to themselves in us, maybe. So we are testing an animal not so far away from us.

A Raven is a long way from us in size, body shape, anatomy, biology, and that we have to go back at least 300 million years to find our common ancestor.

So we can make reasonable tests for fellow hand using apes because we are so similar, but we have to devise tests for ravens that have to use their beak. Imagine if the roles were reversed and a raven had to devise a test for an ape, "handicapped" by lack of a beak, and trying to judge how intelligent it is from imperfect results, and probably imperfect understanding of what is required.

Of note is the researchers saying that a juvenile raven is about as intelligent, as far as can be judged, as a human child at 2.5 years old. Other researchers put adult ravens at the same level as a 7 year old human child. That's the "age of reason" for us, and would, if accurate, put ravens on a far higher level than any ape except us, it would put them on a level where if we could communicate, we could hold a conversation of a reasonable degree of sophistication, something we could not do with another ape, cat or dog, no matter if we spoke their "language" fluently.

Edited by Wepwawet
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Ravens and crows are very smart, and demonstrate it all the time. It's awesome, IMO. Some parrots (and other birds in that family) also show high intelligence. In a way, they do have 'hands' as they can grasp/manipulate finely with their feet and their beak.

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The thing with raven is that they live a long life. They can learn, buildand teach  behaviors to their offspring.

We can also say that octopus are quite smart. They can compute stuff easily but their life is so short that they cannot gain a lot of knowledge.

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This might sound a little bizarre (because it is), while I grew-up in Florida, we had both a raven and a pelican IN OUR HOUSE.

Anyway, the raven would steal stuff and take it on-top of our kitchen cabinets.

The pelican did not like me.

Edited by pallidin
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8 hours ago, pallidin said:

This might sound a little bizarre (because it is), while I grew-up in Florida, we had both a raven and a pelican IN OUR HOUSE.

Anyway, the raven would steal stuff and take it on-top of our kitchen cabinets.

The pelican did not like me.

thought you were going to say: and then he would leave evidence that indicated it was the Pelican :) 

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10 hours ago, pallidin said:

This might sound a little bizarre (because it is), while I grew-up in Florida, we had both a raven and a pelican IN OUR HOUSE.

Anyway, the raven would steal stuff and take it on-top of our kitchen cabinets.

The pelican did not like me.

Pelicans don't like anyone. The males, especially, will chase you

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4 hours ago, HandsomeGorilla said:

Pelicans don't like anyone. The males, especially, will chase you

Yep, it was an injured male pelican (named Edgar) that my oldest brother somehow managed to nurse back to health... but in the meantime it lived in our house.

One day, my brother was holding it and running along the beach in Florida (so it could work its injured wing), and it took flight, never to return.

The raven got out through a momentarily open front door and also never returned.

My younger years were strange...

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Crows rooks jackdaws magpies are much the same i think all birds must be as smart as each other, but the best one for me is the homing pigeon it finds its own way home from hundreds some times thousands of miles away to come home to its perch and all those birds that migrate from one side of the world to the other side  birds are smart..

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I think Blackbirds are fairly smart as well, though not in the same league as the Corvids. 

I have a blackbird that waits on the bird table in the mornings, until I go into the polytunnel (only about 6' away) and get his food out ! 

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