facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Crows solve puzzles from Aesop's fables

"These results are striking as they highlight both the strengths and limits of the crows' understanding," psychologist Sarah A. Jelbert said.
By Brooks Hays   |   March 28, 2014 at 2:17 PM   |   Comments

http://cdnph.upi.com/sv/em/i/UPI-5851396028316/2014/1/13960299444638/Crows-solve-puzzles-from-Aesops-fables.jpg
March 28 (UPI) -- Crows are already known to use tools and even fashion their own tools. Now, researchers have shown that New Caledonian crows can use basic reasoning abilities to solve puzzles.

Sarah A. Jelbert, a psychologist at the University of Auckland, in New Zealand, led the research -- which presented several crows with a variety of puzzles inspired by Aesop's fables.

In one of Aesop's fables, a thirsty crow is described dropping pebbles into a half-full pitcher of water to raise the water level high enough to score a drink.

When offered similar predicaments -- a pile of stones placed next to a test tube of water containing a floating treat, such as a worm -- the crows we able to show a basic understanding of volume displacement. In most scenarios the tested crow was able to use strewn objects to raise the water level high enough to grab the treat.

The details of their study were recently laid out in online journal PLOS One.

The crows did fail a few of the puzzle variations -- ones that required advanced reasoning, like understanding the varying widths of the tubes and other counterintuitive cues.

"These results are striking as they highlight both the strengths and limits of the crows' understanding," Jelbert said. "In particular, the crows all failed a task which violated normal causal rules, but they could pass the other tasks, which suggests they were using some level of causal understanding when they were successful."


[PLOS One]

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Featured UPI Collection
trending
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Say goodbye to Chinese sturgeon Say goodbye to Chinese sturgeon
2
Audi gets permit to test self-driving cars in California Audi gets permit to test self-driving cars in California
3
Impact that doomed dinos enabled spread of modern forests Impact that doomed dinos enabled spread of modern forests
4
Apple's latest operating system rolls out Wednesday afternoon Apple's latest operating system rolls out Wednesday afternoon
5
First 3D-printed car unveiled in Chicago First 3D-printed car unveiled in Chicago
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback