Crows

evilsprout

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#2
Aye, I saw that. Very interesting stuff.

Do you remember that documentary a while back about pigs playing simple video games too? They could do stuff that chimps had no chance of comprehending.

Maybe chimps are top of the intelligence poll just because they're the most obvious choice for intelligence studies?

They reckon octopuses are pretty damn good too.
 

rynner2

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#3
Yes, I've seen the stuff on crows, pigs, chimps... (There was stuff on octopussies just the other day)

It all suggests that we call intelligence is really related to tactile sensations. (Lots of fingers/tentacles/etc = intelligence.)

- but 'sprout, where has your Av gone?!
 

TVgeek

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#4
I've seen crows work in pairs, as well. One will hold open the plastic lid of the garbage can, while the other pecks the trash out.
I'll have to get video sometime!

My sister had a pet pig that made the dog look like an idiot.
I have no doubt that it could have learned some simple game.

TVgeek
 

oll_lewis

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#6
The reson people think chimps are intelegent is because tey are the most geneticly similar specie to humans, so it was suposed that they were similar to humans in other ways like intelegence.
However the chimps are not related to the humonoid ancestors as the chimp ancestors had started their own branch off the tree of evolution way before the first homanids came about.
The presence of greater inteligence than the chimp in crows may sugest that the use of tools is more a learnt responce to the enviroment than intelegence, True intelegence can be classed as evidence of higher thought levels ie the ability to work out what responce an action will have before actuly doing it without having seen a similar thing having been done by another animal.
Cognetive thought inteligence was also exhibited by the crows because they actuly modifyed an existing tool (the bit of wire) to enable it to do a better job where as dumb old chimpy would have spent ages pokeing at the thing and probably not have had much sucess.
other animals that have shown evidence of cognetive thought are blue tits(on a documentary on telly over 10 years ago called bird brain of britain{ older bird watchers may remember that}), squirrils (remember the carling black label advert?), Pigs (as shown on the documentary sprout mentioned), dogs (belive it or not) and domestic cats. as far as I recall if the octopus documentary was the one with octopi going though mazes in over 6 hours it concluded that octopi were as thick as pig s**te but still more intelegent than they thought they were. (interesting fact: octopi do not have a brain just a network of nerves that run throgh the body:eek: )
 

oll_lewis

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#7
TVgeek said:
I've seen crows work in pairs, as well. One will hold open the plastic lid of the garbage can, while the other pecks the trash out.
a farmer friend of mine told me that when hes sown the new seeds on the fields crows take it in turns to be look outs for the famer while the others feast on the tasty seeds. he said that there can be nearly a whole field of crows if the farmer leves it too long before checking on the field.
 

TVgeek

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#8
p.younger said:
Do you have to keep talking about how clever pigs are? I've got pork chops for dinner tomorrow.
People always wonder why I haven't eaten pork in any
form since 1983! :)

TVgeek
 

beakboo1

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#9
What about those monkeys (Japanese macaques?) who started washing their potatoes in sea water? There was much made of it at the time.
Oll- domestic cats?? Surely not? What are your sources here, I'm intrigued. :)
 

oll_lewis

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#10
clever kittys

beakboo said:
Oll- domestic cats?? Surely not? What are your sources here, I'm intrigued. :)
I read an animal behavior paper a few years back can't remember the author or publication date as I read it out of interest so I never had to site it as a reference, Its possible that a goggle search may uncover somthing on it ( best place to look would be the web of science (formaly athans) but thats not much use without a membership you can't get in).
The gist of the paper was that Cat's and dogs can determine the moods of owners (pack or pride members if they were in the wild) and know to go to them if the owner is fealing paticuly unhappy because giving themselfs for petting will chear up the owner and give the animal greater standing in the owners estermation, leaving the door open for more treats and haveing more of a fuss made of them.
Dogs paticuly can be taught the difference between right and wrong so that they will try to avoid doing wrong where possible and if they have done wrong and know it they often show permisive behavior such as the tail between the legs and bowed head.
That said though in studdies both cats and dogs pale in the inteligense and cognetive processes of the pig. One animal behaviorist I know recons this may be due to the dogs typicly short attention span:D
 

evilsprout

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#11
Begs the question why would pigs evolve such high intelligence? The only thing I can think of is truffle-detection!
 

oll_lewis

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#12
Evilsprout said:
Begs the question why would pigs evolve such high intelligence? The only thing I can think of is truffle-detection!
Maybe they just got board?:confused:
I dont think any scientist has ever attempted to explane this.
 

tattooted

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#13
The presence of greater inteligence than the chimp in crows may sugest that the use of tools is more a learnt responce to the enviroment than intelegence

I remember reading somewhere in theories about human evolution, that somehow tool-using stimulated certain areas of the human brain, that when stimulated, led to homo sapiens being able to think in certain ways that differentiated them from their non-tool-using ancestors. I can't remember the whole of the theory, but the short version is that tool using increased intelligence, which led to more complex tool-using, which led to further increased intelligence, and pretty soon we're all driving internal-combustion machines and typing away at our keyboards.

The theory made no mention of other species, but who knows how tool-use might work on their intelligence? Given, we humans have the advantage in using language to communicate and teach tool usage to successive generations. But if it were possible for crows to transmit the technique to their offspring in an upbroken line, I wonder if in a couple of generations we might end up with crows knocking out the farmers and tying them up, instead of just playing lookouts.

On second thought, given the seeming criminal predilection of crows, maybe we just ought to take the tools away from them before they hurt somebody.:rolleyes:
 
A

Anonymous

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I reckon crows are a lot more intelligent than people give them credit for. As a boy I had one as a pet for a while. He was hopping around the fields where we used to play, unable yet to fly, with no sign of his parents. Next day he was still there and still no sign of Mum and Dad so I took him home.

He was hard work to feed I can tell you, and he took a couple of lumps out of me 'till we made friends! During the next couple of months he would venture further and further away until in the end he flew off more or less for good. Most evenings when I returned home from school he'd be sitting on the TV aeriel making a hell of a racket. I'd have to dig a handful of worms for him which he'd come down to take. We'd say our hello's and he'd feed his face and then off he'd go. The visits became more infrequent until they were confined to Sunday mornings, then eventually, in winter, none at all.

Next spring he turned up with another bird and he came down for his worms as usual but the other bird stayed on the roof. This happened a couple of times and then he vanished again. Later still, in the summer, my old man called me out of the house to point out four birds on the roof, two of which were obviously youngsters. It was then I realised the second bird earlier had been his mate. Now here was the whole family!

I never saw them again after that although for years after sometimes a big old bird would sit on the roof and caw a couple of times and then fly off, but I couldn't tell if it was him or not. Even today when I hear a crow caw I always look but of course, he must be long dead.

What always puzzled me and my old man was, how did he know which day was Sunday? We thought maybe it was the church bells.
 

rynner2

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#15
The interesting thing about this crow research is not so much that crows can use tools but that they can make tools.

The researchers had provided hooks to see if the crows could retrieve the little food containers (they could). But then one crow flew off with the hook, and the other crow, quite spontaneously, made a new hook from a piece of wire lying around.

This was totally unexpected to the researchers, who hadn't planned that scenario. Fascinating stuff! We brag about our big brains, but it seems indisputable that certain kinds of animal behaviour indicates they have a 'mind', and that a big brain is not necessary to create this.
 

oll_lewis

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#16
Tattoo Ted said:
I remember reading somewhere in theories about human evolution, that somehow tool-using stimulated certain areas of the human brain, that when stimulated, led to homo sapiens being able to think in certain ways that differentiated them from their non-tool-using ancestors. I can't remember the whole of the theory, but the short version is that tool using increased intelligence, which led to more complex tool-using, which led to further increased intelligence, and pretty soon we're all driving internal-combustion machines and typing away at our keyboards.
In the last few years, the way we think of human evolution has totaly changed, it was once thought that tool use led to bigger brains which led to more advanced tools made by even bigger brains, this is now thought to be incorrect. rather that tools could be made by even those homanids with smaller brains and as they passed the methods on to their children their children started on a higher knolage base, from which they would improve the design of a tool by accedent or by experriment.
More comlex designs or hunting techneques or even ideas or artistic methods could be passed on as language or bodyly expression of language improved so it could have been language that improved homanid intelegence rather than the tool makeing itself.

same may apply with other species, bees and ants (the most intelegent insects, which are probably more inteligent than most people:rolleyes: ) comunicate by dances and other body language to tell each other where the best pollon/crunchiest leaves are and leaf cutter ants are intelegent enouth to farm.and also seems to apply to some bird species like the crows, birds generaly have a mating call, a danger call and an oi get of my land call but crows and some other corvid species do use body langage to comunicate on some occasions.
 

DerekH16

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#17
Crows - particularly hooded crows - can, according to various farmer-types I've known, tell the difference between a man with a stick and a man with a shotgun. Since hoodies, according to what I've heard, frequently feast on lamb, and are therefore hunted, there's a certain amount of survivor mechanism in this... or intelligence.

The problem is, is our definition of intelligence all-pervasive, or does it only apply to hominids - in particular, us? Do we recognise intelligent behaviour in other species that they would describe as 'common sense'?

And are other species watching us and thinking 'Call themselves intelligent? Can't even feed themselves without agriculture, weapons, road networks, specialised jobs......'
 
A

Anonymous

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#18
When I was a child in Ohio, I noticed that crows would immediately fly away when I approached carrying a gun. They would not fly if I was carrying a stick. Once I tried carrying a piece of black plastic pipe that looked very much like a shotgun barrel. The crows paid no attention, even when I aimed it at them as I would aim a shotgun.

A schoolmate who shot crows told me that in order to shoot crows from a blind, three shooters must enter the blind, then two of them must leave. Crows can only count to two, and when the lookout crow sees two people leave the blind, he will assume it is empty and the crows will come within range of the gunner.
 
A

Anonymous

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Rick S. said:
A schoolmate who shot crows told me that in order to shoot crows from a blind, three shooters must enter the blind, then two of them must leave. Crows can only count to two, and when the lookout crow sees two people leave the blind, he will assume it is empty and the crows will come within range of the gunner.
If we pull this trick too often the crows will adapt and learn to count to 3,4,5,etc etc.

In a decade of two they will have their own Physicists and a few decades after that... the bomb. :eek!!!!:
 
A

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Evilsprout said:
Begs the question why would pigs evolve such high intelligence? The only thing I can think of is truffle-detection!
Well, it occurs to me that if you tie together a few facts it's not so mind boggling...

1) pigs (along with dogs and cats) have very good sense of smell.
2) which requires development of some portion of the brain to process the data from the olfactory nerves
3) which would indicate glion/neuron development
4) in humans it has been demonstrated that the brain is rather plastic in that one area of the brain can "sub" for a damaged area

so maybe intelligence as related to brain capacity is a flexible thing.

I now wonder if we analyzed brains of pets who's owners claim "he (she) understands everything I say" versus pets who are cared for (food, water, exercise) but not loved or communicated with, would we see differences in brain development?
 

intaglio

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#22
Regarding crows it, has anyone else noticed that they play?

Down this end of the country the Hedges are earthen banks with an outer stone layer. Crows will "surf" the standing wave rising from these banks for hours.
 
A

Anonymous

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#23
This may not be relevant but as my favorite bird is the crow, I thought that I would contribute something.

I used to conduct Rookery surveys with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and spent a hell of a lot of time watching these magnificent yet neglected creatures. Now remember that these are Rooks rather than Carrion or Jackdaw.

I love the way that they walk from A to B. Quite often, they will not resort to the air as a mode of transport. They walk and hop and run and will only resort to flying if something is coming at them fast.

If a Rook sees you coming, It holds itself and moves around and backs up and walks away. Most other creatures will either scatter or freeze when threatened. Not so with the crow. They will move their wings and head and make their presence known to the enemy. Even stupid animals, like rabbits, will not make their presence known by moving so much. I say stupid (I hate anthropomorphism by the way. A creature is neither stupid or clever if we are unable to pick its mind) because a rabbit will quite literally freeze and let itself be caught.

Also, and again it certainly is'nt relevant to crows, Blackbirds are classed as immitator birds and have been known to imitate its fellow tweeters. A blackbird can sound like so many different birds that it is difficult to conduct a proper survey based on sound alone. Recently, as I'm sure you will know, they have been found to immitate mobile phones and car alarms.

Many years ago in Scotland, a small boy found a chick and took it home to get identified and cared for. It was a baby blackbird and he decided to keep it and tame the little blighter.
Well, he spoke to the bird, like one may speak to ones dog, untill one day.........it spoke back!!!

The parrot is an immitator bird. Of course we dont believe that they understand the words. They are immitating the sounds.
Our words are just sounds to the world but to the human mind they represent so many different things.
 

phgnome

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#25
Hunting crows

My boyfriend and I were talking a walk out in an urban wooded area one day and noticed a baby fox come running up to us. The baby fox cried the most desparate sob and sat in front of us and kept crying and looking up into the tree canopy.

Two crows were circling overhead, making a ruckus.

The road wasn't too far away and they took turns swooping low every so often, low enough to see what was happening on the ground but nowhere near our reach. They kept swooping down from behind the baby fox and I understood: they were trying to chase him onto the road by frightening and tormenting him!

I find it amazing that they were able to orchestrate a very well coordinated effort to make their own road kill! They were behaving as though hunting in a small pack.
 

ruffready

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#26
very amazing! I've always wondered ..like in" humans,every now and then we get an" Einstien", likewise in the animals? MY border collie never ceses to amaze me..you use to have to for instance spell "should I take rowdy for a w-a-l-k ? now even spelling doesnt work...hes at the door..ad infinitium
 

Cult_of_Mana

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#27
St.Clair said:
Also, and again it certainly is'nt relevant to crows, Blackbirds are classed as immitator birds and have been known to imitate its fellow tweeters. A blackbird can sound like so many different birds that it is difficult to conduct a proper survey based on sound alone. Recently, as I'm sure you will know, they have been found to immitate mobile phones and car alarms.
I have never heard of blackbirds being mimics. Perhaps you mean starlings? I have often heard them try to imitate the blackbird's song though usually it ends with a screech. They can't get the last notes right:)
 

rossba1

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#28
ive always thought crows as clever as well. Though they arent the only birds to use tools. The woodpecker finch that lives in the galapagos islands sometimes uses and modifies a cactus spine to poke around in bark to get at the grubs living there. As there are no woodpeckers in the galapagos this finch evolved a behaviour that is equivalent to the long probing tongue that woodpeckers use to get at grubs in trees.
 

rynner2

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#29
Because of the mild climate, there are quite a few palm trees down here. Last night I saw a magpie in one, quite busily pecking away at something, activity very reminiscent of a woodpecker.

Now I think of it, I don't recall seeing a magpie in a tree (of any sort) before. On roofs, in fields, yes, but trees, no.

Any ornithologists care to comment? :)
 
A

Anonymous

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You will see the magpie in a tree with its nest.

In the city, they have become so adaptable to the urban life that they are more frequently seen on the groun or on a roof. In the urban areas there is a presure on them to continualy move.

A cat, rat or town squirrel can climb those trees in the towns while they have more peace in the countryside.

Remember the idea that the like shiney things, enough to steal 'em. Well they were stealing them and taking them to their nests.....in a tree.............big messy nests in Silver Birch or ash quite often.
 
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