Sunday, 23 January 2011

A Big Surprise For Evolution: Crows Are Smarter Than Great Apes

New Caledonian crow (Corvus moneduloides). Image courtesy of John Gerrard Keulemans, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Crows are surprisingly clever. In spite of their relatively small brains, they are more innovative in their use of tools than the great apes. This is a dilemma for Darwinians since according to the evolution-based story, as our closest living relatives chimpanzees should be cleverer than birds.

Recently, a team at the University of Oxford observed New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) living in aviaries. The researchers gave the crows different kinds of objects. Seeing a potentially dangerous object, the birds would first touch it with a tool (a stick) until they would use their beak.

Research has shown that crows will use one tool to access another one that will enable them to use a third tool.

Crows are innovative tool users in other ways, also:

Source: 18 January 2011.