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Nature & Environment

Young ravens are as intelligent as adult apes

By T.K. Randall
December 14, 2020 · Comment icon 11 comments

Ravens are particularly brainy birds. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Franco Atirador
Scientists have revealed that four-month-old ravens possess a remarkably high level of animal intelligence.
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 study has discovered that ravens in particular are so intelligent that even at four months old their intellectual capabilities rival those of adult primates.

The research involved conducting a number of tests to see if the birds understood concepts such as adding up numbers and whether they knew that an object still existed even when it was out of sight.
"For instance, to investigate whether ravens know where food is located, we hid treats under a cup, and moved it quickly back and forth among other cups that were empty, just as one does in the 'shell game,'" said study co-author Miriam Sima.

"A raven selected a cup by pecking or pointing at it with its beak, while a chimpanzee would have done this with their fingers."

When the researchers compared the cognitive abilities of eight hand-raised ravens, they found that the birds rivalled the results achieved by orangutans and chimpanzees.

"Our results suggest that ravens are not only social intellects but have also developed sophisticated cognitive skills for dealing with the physical world," the study authors wrote.

Source: | Comments (11)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Seti42 3 years ago
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.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Jon the frog 3 years ago
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.
Comment icon #4 Posted by godnodog 3 years ago
so they start younger to throw shaite around
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin 3 years ago
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.
Comment icon #6 Posted by mesuma 3 years ago
Brain, cue image of a raven and a chimp playing chess.
Comment icon #7 Posted by quillius 3 years ago
thought you were going to say: and then he would leave evidence that indicated it was the Pelican  
Comment icon #8 Posted by HandsomeGorilla 3 years ago
Pelicans don't like anyone. The males, especially, will chase you
Comment icon #9 Posted by pallidin 3 years ago
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...
Comment icon #10 Posted by johncbdg 3 years ago
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..
Comment icon #11 Posted by RoofGardener 3 years ago
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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