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Nature & Environment

Ravens are capable of spotting unfair deals

By T.K. Randall
June 10, 2017 · Comment icon 5 comments

Ravens know how to avoid bad deals. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Franco Atirador
A new research paper has revealed that ravens and crows can determine whether or not a deal is fair.
Members of the corvid family, which include ravens, crows and jays, have long been known to possess a remarkable level of intelligence with the capacity to remember human faces, solve puzzles, navigate complex environments and even hold funerals for their own dead.

Now a new international study has revealed that ravens and crows also possess a concept of "fairness" when it comes to exchanging one thing for another.

The research focused on ravens which were hand-raised to make them less fearful of humans.
For the experiment, a 'fair' trainer and an 'unfair' trainer each offered one of the birds a tasty piece of cheese in exchange for a small crust of bread.

When one of the ravens placed its bread crust in the 'fair' trainer's hand it was given the piece of cheese in exchange. When the bread was placed in the hand of the 'unfair' trainer however the bird was given nothing whatsoever.

After two days, the vast majority of the birds learned to favor the 'fair' trainer over the 'unfair' one.

"If one individual supports another, there's a correlation between support given and received on a long-term basis," said study co-author Jorg Masse.

Source: National Geographic | Comments (5)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by The Silver Thong 7 years ago
I raised two magpies a long time ago. I didn`t even know what kind of bird they were till they grew feathers. They new when I went to school and when I would be home. The little b*****s made a bunch of noise for me but nobody else so ya I was the food guy. Magpies, crows and ravens are damn smart birds. this video is cute, and the girl ain`t bad either.  
Comment icon #2 Posted by highdesert50 7 years ago
I raised a tiny goldfinch fledgling. As she had been injured in the fall from a nest, she was not released. Over the years, I learned much about her communication as a social support mechanism and conveying emotion. She knew her family and would even examine our hands to see what we might be carrying. Given birds' ancestry, it might be more interesting to find what avian characteristics we possess, rather than what human characteristics birds possess.
Comment icon #3 Posted by kartikg 7 years ago
nice man, do you have any videos? was she always kept in cage or she would roam around? 
Comment icon #4 Posted by back to earth 7 years ago
When I lived up on the mountain there were lots of ravens about.  Furtive but curious, so I  nailed a metal plate to a fence post and had a water bowl and occasional snacks in it .  Then I would dong a bell ( piece of metal hanging there) . Eventually they got it and would come to the bell.  But then other birds figured out what was going on. So the ravens would grab a beak full and go hide it somewhere and come back for more and stash that somewhere. Funny to watch .... I saw one stuff some under a little row of grass clippings from the ride on mower .....    walk away, look back , ang... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by highdesert50 7 years ago
Free and caged ... all 9 grams.

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