Unlike Some Humans, Ravens Can Plan for the Future

Unlike Some Humans, Ravens Can Plan for the Future

It’s a well-known fact that ravens, crows and related birds are highly intelligent.

These birds have complex social lives; recognize and remember human faces; understand cause and effect; and even comprehend the properties of water displacement on the same level as children.

But now, new research has discovered that these birds can also plan for the future as well as great apes. Scientists from Lund University in Sweden administered the same battery of tests to ravens that have long been given to great apes to prove their long-term planning abilities. In one test, the ravens were given a tool to be used to open a box with food inside. They then removed the box for an hour, then returned it along with several other tools intended to distract. The majority of the ravens chose the correct took, and did so again after the box was taken and returned a second time.

Ravens demonstrate the same facility with tools as apes, and can out-barter orangutans, bonobos, and chimps. Moreover, a study in 2006 showed that ravens had the capacity to plan ahead, hiding food at night and retrieving it for breakfast. Other animals like squirrels store food, but aren’t thought to be able to plan ahead in other ways.

Ravens and their relatives saw their evolutionary paths diverge from the primates around 320 million years ago. Consequently, they are thought to have developed their cognitive abilities independently from primates. Studying them can help to better understand the nature of cognition and planning.

These birds and their relatives have long been companions to humans. They are playful as well as intelligent, and demonstrate unique personalities.

For more information, please read:
Ravens Can Make Plans for the Future, in Some Ways Surpassing Apes | Newsweek

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