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
Triple-Tool Crows Stun Scientists
New Caledonian crows are experts at making tools from unfamiliar materials, researchers say.   (Shutter Stock)

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. (More Crows stories.)

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