Crows can perform as well as 7- to 10-year-olds on cause-and-effect water displacement tasks

Vastet
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Crows can perform as well as 7- to 10-year-olds on cause-and-effect water displacement tasks

Date:
July 23, 2014

Source:
University of California - Santa Barbara

Summary:
In Aesop's fable about the crow and the pitcher, a thirsty bird happens upon a vessel of water, but when he tries to drink from it, he finds the water level out of his reach. Not strong enough to knock over the pitcher, the bird drops pebbles into it -- one at a time -- until the water level rises enough for him to drink his fill. New research demonstrates the birds' intellectual prowess may be more fact than fiction.

Exerpt:
The testing room contained an apparatus consisting of two beakers of water, the same height, but one wide and the other narrow. The diameters of the lids were adjusted to be the same on each beaker. "The question is, can they distinguish between water volumes?" Logan said. "Do they understand that dropping a stone into a narrow tube will raise the water level more?" In a previous experiment by Sarah Jelbert and colleagues at the University of Auckland, the birds had not preferred the narrow tube. However, in that study, the crows were given 12 stones to drop in one or the other of the beakers, giving them enough to be successful with either one.
"When we gave them only four objects, they could succeed only in one tube -- the narrower one, because the water level would never get high enough in the wider tube; they were dropping all or most of the objects into the functional tube and getting the food reward," Logan explained. "It wasn't just that they preferred this tube, they appeared to know it was more functional."
However, she noted, we still don't know exactly how the crows think when solving this task. They may be imagining the effect of each stone drop before they do it, or they may be using some other cognitive mechanism. "More work is needed," Logan said.

Full Article/Source:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723180824.htm


digitalbeachbum
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I had a cousin who had a

I had a cousin who had a Mynah and an African Grey. damn birds were amazing. They worked together and would get my cousin up to let them out of the cage early in the morning to feed them. If he didn't let them out they were relentless in their pursuit.

Both could talk and even though I know it was a mimic it was amazing. They also had routines and if you broke their routine they would get really angry.

What was amazing was how the spoke and used their words. It wasn't just saying stuff, it was saying stuff at the right time and with the correct context.