Bearded crows can create complex tools
Bearded crows can create tools by combining two or more unrelated pieces that are useless individually. Such abilities have so far only been observed in humans and monkeys.
The research, published in the „Scientific Reports” was carried out by scientists from the from the Max Planck Institute and the University of Oxford.
Bearded crows (Corvus moneduloides), an endemic species found only in New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands, have repeatedly amazed researchers with their intellect. Last year, scientists at the University of St. Andrews spotted how these birds perform one of their most sophisticated designs in tools – sticks with a neatly shaped hooked end ce. Tools made from the twigs of some The birds used these plants to gouge out insects in the nooks and crannies in and holes in tree trunks.
In July of this year, a study was released suggesting that these birds have templates in their minds and can use them to make tools. The crows, using memorized images of tools they had used before, were able to produce similar tools from materials available to them .
Researchers have been asking for years how many of these abilities in bearded crows are genetically programmed, and what proportion of them are acquired and passed on through learning and memorization.
New research shows that these birds can make tools out of connectable parts. Combining r tic components into new, functional tools, has so far only been observed in primates. Anthropologists believe that the ability to make complex tools was an important step in the evolution of m of the human race.
Such activity requires anticipating the properties of objects not yet constructed . In humans, mastering these skills takes several years of development. Such foresight or planning is usually interpreted as a manifestation of the tw The tool was shown to the crows in a transparent box, which was used for mental modeling and executive functions. In addition to planning and predicting properties, this requires r They also had the ability to think in an abstract way and to associate . Research shows that this species of crow has high intellectual capacity, able to solve complex problems involving the prediction of object properties in, kt The birds had never seen each other before.
– This discovery is remarkable because the crows received no help or training in making these combinations, they figured it out on their own – said Auguste von Bayern, one of the authors of in the publication. Scientists had already shown how b this unusual species was able to use and create useful tools. This was observed among the d crows living zar both in the wild and in captivity. However, the birds have never before been seen to combine more than one part to create tools.
– Research findings confirm that crows have highly flexible abilities that that allow them to quickly solve new problems. It’s possible that they’re using some form of virtual simulation of the problem, as if r tive potential actions have been played out in their m gach, dop they don’t come up with a real solution and then put it into practice – admitted Alex Kacelnik, a co author of the publication.
The study was conducted on eight bearded crows. Each individual was given a riddle to solve, with which tion that they had not encountered before. The reward for the solution was food. The crows were shown a transparent container with a treat inside, to which that could only be reached through a narrow slit at the bottom of the container. Initially, the researchers gave the birds fairly long pieces of twigs scattered around the container. The crows quickly realized the situation and, inserting the longest piece, pushed the food out of the container.
All eight birds in this task did not have any difficulty. In the next step, the researchers put food in a container but only provided the birds with kr small pieces of twigs, too small to use them to push food out of the container. But these circles small sticks could potentially be connected to each other. Some some of them were empty inside, and others could fit inside.
Without any help or demonstration, four crows figured out how to get to the food on their own. They put one piece in another and used the longer stick to reach and extract the food. The four crows took between 4 and 6 minutes to do this. Scientists have made the task increasingly difficult by leaving wok The food container is getting smaller and smaller The longer sticks are the ones that The food had to be combined with. One crow called Mango, was able to make complex tools from three or even four parts.
Although the study authors explain that mental processes in which Although the ability of birds to achieve their goals has not yet been fully established, the ability to invent a tool is interesting in itself. Few animals are able to make and use tools. In humans, too, this ability appears only after several years of development. Children start using tools when they are about 18 months old. But they invent new tools that can solve a given problem as late as five years old.