Clever crows

Often portrayed in popular culture as evil scavengers, crows are actually one of the cleverest animals on Earth.

Recent study has shown that the birds are the only non-primates in the animal kingdom that can make tools and can recognise humans or other animals who have threatened them in the past.

In a task set to them by researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, crows learnt to gain food rewards from tubes of water by placing heavy stones into them. The extra weight of the objects caused the water to rise letting the birds have the food. This is apparently a task that humans can only complete by the age of six or seven.

However, the birds failed on two other tasks which involved understanding tube width and moving water in a u-shaped tube.

This suggests then that crows understand puzzles involving normal causal rules but not when it becomes different to what they are accustomed to in the wild. So they’re not going to take over as the planet’s dominant species…yet.