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Cooperative Behavior and Crows



The Science Times of the New York Times, Tuesday< may 27, 1997 has an
interesting piece on crows. It highlights research done by Dr.Lawrenc
Kilham and Dr. Kevin J. McGowan, Dr. Cyndy Sims Parr (Univ of MIchigan)
all of whom has documented both cooperative behavior and the audible
mechanisims for some of this behavior.

Dr. Parr, in particular, has recorded 15 or 20 "long-distance
vocalizations" which she believes have specific meanings having to do
with territoriality, etc.

While I make no pretence of being aware of journal articles that may
speculate on this sort of communication among dinos, it is clear that
even in "The Lost World" vocalizations shown in motion pictures are
crude and largely intended for shock effect. T. rex basically bellows so
that sub-woofers in the theatre shakes everybody up.

At any rate, there have been a number of threads both supporting and
pooh-poohing the nothing of cooperative behavior amongst the various
so-called "pack" dinosaurs. My impression of the critiques of this
notion is that the detractors focus largely on visual cues for
coopetative behavior: the "alpha" animal gestures majestically and
everybody follows.

Isn't it possible that there were organized vocalizations?  Crows, if
you've watched them, can cooperatively do all sorts of amazing things.
They used to plague my cat when I was growing up, and it was clear that
the crows were not exhibiting random behavior.

Any thoughts?

E. Summer


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