No Bird Brains, Crows Reveal 'Human-Like' Reasoning

Use multiple tools to solve challenge
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2007 12:20 AM CDT
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Crows on a South Pacific island showed human-like reasoning in solving a complex problem that required two tools, according to a study. The birds used a short twig to access a longer twig which could then be used to reach a treat. "What's most amazing is that most of them did this on the first trial," a researcher told the BBC. 

Scientists believe the birds were using human-like analogical reasoning—which is based on experience with earlier, similar problems—rather than simply trial and error. The island crows are known for their tool-making abilities. They use their bills to whittle twigs into hooks to pry bugs from crevices.