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Nature & Environment

Ravens use 'hand' gestures

By T.K. Randall
December 1, 2011 · Comment icon 17 comments

Image Credit: CC 3.0 Andrew Gray
Scientists have discovered that ravens use their beaks to make hand-like gestures to one another.
It is the first time animals other than primates have been observed engaging in this type of behaviour which includes using their beaks to point at or offer an item to another bird. "Most exciting is how a species, which does not represent the prototype of a 'gesturer' because it has wings instead of hands, a strong beak and can fly, makes use of very sophisticated nonvocal signals," said biologist Simone Pika.
Ravens use their beaks and wings much like humans rely on our hands to make gestures, such as for pointing to an object, scientists now find.


Source: Scientific American | Comments (17)




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Comment icon #8 Posted by Taun 13 years ago
I had a 'pet' crow when I was a kid - named him Edgar Allen Crow - he was very smart, but he did like my sisters shiney ear rings alot.... Sometimes I think he was too smart... He would often get into trouble with my mom - who did not like him - and constantly tried to 'release him to the wild' only to have him beat her back home... I never noticed him using 'hand guestures' though if he had he probably would have flipped every one 'the bird'....
Comment icon #9 Posted by randym23 13 years ago
that's what that crow was doing. he was giving me the beak!
Comment icon #10 Posted by OverSword 13 years ago
Oh I know birds are smarter than hell. I had a whole flock of parrots in my house at one point. (over 200 birds) ... My macaw could pick a lock, the tumbler style like on a briefcase, for years I thought my daughter or ex were leaving the lock undone until I secretly watched the damn bird pick it and let himself out! Of course, on the other hand, he wasn't all that bright too... lol... once he'd picked his lock, he'd start walking around on the floor telling himself what a BAD boy he was. Whever I was in the other room and could hear him saying "Ohhhh Pelee is a BAAAAAD bird! Bummer! Bummer!" ... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Swadwa 13 years ago
No surprise here. Animals are far more intelligent than most humans believe - I guess that means most humans are stupid. Oh wait... they are.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Salt&SulphurStone 13 years ago
Meh. My Border Collie points her tail in the direction in which she wants me to follow. When she wants me to go to the door, she'll turn her body away from me and curve her tail forward, next to her body, "pointing" to follow. Then she'll look at me as if, "Well, aren't you going to get up?" Smart dog, she has me trained well.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Ciss 13 years ago
Very intelligent creatures! That's why you never see one dead in the road, there is always another sitting in the trees saying "car, car, car" !!!
Comment icon #14 Posted by Darkwind 13 years ago
Meh. My Border Collie points her tail in the direction in which she wants me to follow. When she wants me to go to the door, she'll turn her body away from me and curve her tail forward, next to her body, "pointing" to follow. Then she'll look at me as if, "Well, aren't you going to get up?" Smart dog, she has me trained well. My cat does that. She'll either point at the door or the food dish with her tail.
Comment icon #15 Posted by angi chiesa 13 years ago
I had a poodle dog.If we walked in the woods he would point at a pheasant for mee to shoot it. Great eating
Comment icon #16 Posted by angi chiesa 13 years ago
we have free flying ravens at the tower of london.They are quite tame and will take food from your hand. They look at you eye to eye as if they are asking you for a peck of something. I see them as somewhat intelligent
Comment icon #17 Posted by Robbie333 13 years ago
I really do love ravens and crows. Me too. They are social and very smart. My friend had a Crow when we were teens but all it could say is *&ck you and Football !!! LOL. A cop pulled us over once and he had a perch between the seats of his van. The cop asked my friend for his license and the Crow started crackling **ck you and Football. The cop laughed so hard he just said to move on. LOL


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