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Crows Can Use Two Tools On A Task
this stuff is way cool... wonder if there's a pdf for this ;)
A University of Auckland study has revealed that New Caledonian crows can
use separate tools in quick succession to retrieve an out-of-reach snack.
The birds were using reasoning that was more commonly seen in great apes
and humans, the New Zealand team reported in the journal Current Biology.
To further test the crows' tool-using talents, scientists set seven wild
birds a tricky task.
The crows were presented with:
* A scrap of meat, which was tucked away, out of reach, in a box;
* A small twig, which was too short to reach the food;
* And another longer twig, which was long enough to reach the food,
but was locked away well out of bill-grabbing range in another box.
The birds surprised the scientists with their quick thinking.
Alex Taylor, lead author of the paper, said: "The creative thing the crows
did was to use the short stick to get the long tool out of the box so that
they could then use the long stick to get the meat."
Russell Gray, another author of the paper, told the BBC News website:
"What is most amazing is that most of them did this on the first trial.
"The first time we gave them the problem, six out of seven tried to do the
"They took the little tool and they tried to get the big tool out, which
we had made quite hard to reach, and four out of the six managed to get
the big tool out and then use this to get to the food."
In another experiment, the positions of the long and short twigs were
The team found that all apart from one crow briefly attempted to use the
long twig to try to retrieve the short twig from box before quickly
correcting their mistake and using the long twig to directly access the