Triple-Tool-Wielding Crows Stun Scientists
Problem-solving ability rivals that of primates
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2010 4:27 AM CDT
Updated Apr 25, 2010 2:30 PM CDT
New Caledonian crows are experts at making tools from unfamiliar materials, researchers say.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – The crows of New Caledonia are astounding masters at making and using tools and can solve problems that would flummox many primates, say researchers. Three wild crows, presented with a problem requiring them to use a short tool attached to string to retrieve a larger tool from a box and obtain food with it, each solved it on their first attempt, the BBC reports.

"Finding that the crows could solve the problem even when they had to innovate two behaviors was incredibly surprising," the lead researcher said. The South Pacific crows have been observed in the wild whittling branches into hooks to retrieve food from hard-to-reach areas, a level of tool-making expertise scientists had previously believed was only found among humans and their nearest primate relatives.

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Apr 26, 2010 6:47 PM CDT
Loved hearing about the crow/ravens everyone wrote about. They are so dog-like! And cute!
Apr 26, 2010 4:01 PM CDT
I feed a group of crows everyday. They actually recognize me, and one will immediately start calling for the group to come to eat as soon as I come out of my house with food. Sometimes, when I take a walk in the woods, they follow me jumping from tree to tree squawking. I've observed a crow sit in a tree, watch a squirrel bury a peanut, then as soon as the squirrel leaves, the crow flies down, digs up the peanut and eats it. They are very intelligent, and extremely fun to watch.
Apr 26, 2010 4:51 AM CDT
I've always said crows and ravens were too smart for their own good. There's some research going on now teaching crows to gather coins they find in cities to put them into receptacles. They get a nut as a reward, and the city gets a revenue boost.