Thursday, 4 September 2014

Cockatoos Are Better Tool Users Than Chimps

Cockatoos are clever and innovative birds.

Joel Kontinen

Darwinian evolution would predict that apes are cleverer than birds. Fortunately, cockatoos and some other birds, such as crows, do not know this and they tend to outperform chimpanzees in tasks that require innovative tool use.

Recently, Alice Auersperg and colleagues at the University of Vienna, Austria, observed a caged cockatoo named Figaro. The bird was unable to reach a nut that fell outside his cage.

No worries. There was a large piece of wood on the cage floor. Figaro used his beak to cut a splinter. Using it, he was able to retrieve the nut.

It seems that animals are clever and innovative because they were created to be clever.


Marshall, Michael. 2014. Zoologger: Cockatoos learn to make and use a tool. New Scientist (3 September).