Monday, August 20, 2007
What a Bird!
"Evidence suggests that, from the earliest human stone tools, analogical reasoning has been at the core of human innovation," said Russell Gray of the University of Auckland. "This hallmark of human intelligence may also be at work in both the great apes and New Caledonian crows and may explain why--out of all the crow species in the world--only these crows routinely make and use tools."
In the study, the researchers presented crows with some meat in a hole and a stick that left the meat out of reach. The birds needed to get a long stick out of a "toolbox" in order to get the meat from the hole. However, the long stick was also out of reach. "The creative thing the crows did was to use the short stick to get the long tool out of the box so that they could then use the long stick to get the meat," said Alex Taylor, also of the University of Auckland.