Thursday, February 03, 2011

Crows (Corvids) and tool-making

Two videos from Jerry Coyne's site showing the unique talents of Crows. The first shows how a crow uses a wire to fish out a basket of food.

These crows are the only animals known to make tools from stuff they haven’t previously encountered in nature. Here’s crow Betty extracting a plug from a tube. At about 22 seconds she realizes that she isn’t going to get the object with a straight wire, and bends it into a hook around the tube. Amazing!

And I can’t resist adding this David Attenborough video of Japanese crows dropping nuts on the street to crack them, using the cars to do the job. He claims (and this is unbelievable) that the crows actually drop the nuts at pedestrian crossings, so that they can retrieve the cracked nuts when the light turns red! (Just click on the “Watch on YouTube” line.)

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