An astonishing discovery about crows and ravens suggests that they have some traits pretty similar to humans.
Scientists have just made a remarkable discovery about ravens and crows that indicates that we’re not so different from them after all. The study, published by researchers at Sweden’s Lund University in the journal Science, suggests that corvids, a bird family that includes ravens and crows, are capable of planning ahead, something that has been seen only in humans and apes.
Corvids have long had a reputation for being exceptionally smart creatures, but this new finding suggests we may have a lot more to learn about them. For this study, scientists took five ravens and gave them a series of puzzles, first showing them how to open the puzzle box that contained a treat with a specific tool
They then gave the ravens other random objects which did not open the box, so that they would know which tool to focus on when presented with a choice. Then they took the puzzle box away, and provided the tools. Fifteen minutes later, the puzzle box was provided. In about 86 percent of cases, the raven chose the right tool before the puzzle box came out, except for one female raven who figured out how to get in the box without any tool.
“Despite previous research that indicates such behaviors are unique to humans and great apes, a new study shows that ravens, too, can plan ahead for different types of events , and further, that they are willing to forgo an immediate reward in order to gain a better one in the future,” reads a statement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “As ravens and great apes have not shared a common ancestor for over 300 million years, these results suggest that the cognitive “planning” abilities they share in common re-appeared, on a separate evolutionary path, in the birds. The complex cognitive task of planning ahead has almost exclusively been observed in humans and great apes. Some corvids, a family of birds that includes ravens, have also demonstrated the ability to plan beyond the current moment – but such findings have been confined to caching food.”
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