Super Smart Crow Brings New Meaning To The Phrase ‘Bird Brained ‘
Solves Incredibly Complex Puzzle
Multi-step puzzles — like the traditional Japanese puzzle boxes that are all but impossible to open unless you follow the exact step-by-step opening processes designed for each particular box — are challenging for most humans. A crow, however, on the BBC show Inside the Animal Mind, tackles a multi-step puzzle with such aplomb that it suggests humans may no longer have something to crow about. In the video, the bird nicknamed 007 for its cunning mind, employs a simple tool and sound reasoning to flit through eight individual stages of a complex puzzle and secure itself a bit of food. The show's astonished hosts call the puzzle "one of the most complex tests of the animal mind ever."
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Long viewed as "clever" and "tricksters" in many traditional cultures, science is only beginning to gain full insight into how smart crows are. The answer is really, really, smart. In fact their entire family — the corvids, which include blue jays, ravens, and magpies — are increasingly regarded as brilliant. A 2004 study in Science suggests that crows are at least as smart as the great apes, while a 2003 study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests that crows can handle tools better than chimpanzees. Gavin R. Hunt, one of the study's co-authors, says, "The ability to cumulatively improve tools is one of the features that define humanness. In fact this ability has been crucial for our technological progress. Our findings therefore remove an important technological difference between humans and other animals." While most scientists stop short of saying that crows have their own language, their signature morning caw is not just random noise, but actually how birds communicate with each other. Some scientists even theorize that crows have regional dialects.
In other words, there's a reason why Alfred Hitchcock chose crows and not pigeons, as his bird of choice for his classic thriller The Birds. Brute strength is frightening, but intelligence cruelly applied is downright terrifying.
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