Cheryl E. Fitzgerald (synapsomatic) wrote,
Cheryl E. Fitzgerald

Corvid Minds

A lovely follow-up to my previous post: demonstration of the cognitive problem solving capabilities of a New Caledonian crow. Like us, this species adopted and then evolved for tool use. While other species of corvids might be able to figure out how to use a tool, New Caledonian crows have so regularly fashioned and used their own tools for so long, that their bodies evolved adaptive traits for this kind of tool use. Compared to what you find in other corvids of similar size, the bottom half of the beak is larger and sturdier, with I think a little more muscle attached, and it has a slight curve upwards, again compared to what you find in other corvids, making the shape of the beak straighter, so that they have much greater control and precision and strength of grip on the tool. Furthermore, the eyes are actually a little higher up on the head so that they can easily see straight ahead and over their beak to see what they're doing with the tool.

(I do wish I could have a pet crow or raven! It would be quite the challenge to have such an intelligent and clever animal around, which is certainly one reason why I'm sure I'd love it. (I kind of love that guy in those videos. He's not for everyone, but his sense of humor is one I appreciate. And there's just something I find a bit endearing about him.))
Tags: animal minds, evolution
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