Ravens are very frequently seen as very intelligent and mentally conscious birds with regards to their behaviour and thought processes. In addition to previous perceptions, another impressive trait has been added to their personalities, as researchers have discovered that they have the ability to plan for the future.
Reports claim that this recent discovery relates to all birds within the corvid group, which includes ravens, crows, jays and nutcrackers. The trait means that they have the ability to know when they have been cheated, as well as remembering who it was that cheated them for a period of at least a month after it happened. Further research has also now determined that the clever birds can plan for the future, which is a trait that was previously believed to be exclusive to primates.
New experiments that were published in Science state that their abilities go far beyond what was previously believed. The initial experiment saw the birds using a tool to open a box to retrieve food, before moving on to a puzzle that they studied for a period of one hour before it was taken away. Following this, they were then shown a range of tools which included the one needed to solve the previous puzzle. After waiting 15 minutes before the puzzle was given back, the birds were then successful in choosing the correct tool in 86 percent of cases.
The final test involved the birds being given different options with different rewards of which they were only allowed to choose one. These included choosing a tool to open the puzzle with a high value reward, a tool that didn’t work at all, and a low value but immediate food reward. The result saw that the ravens chose the tool for the puzzle, which meant the highest reward, despite it not being immediate. This result put them ahead of apes in terms of planning ahead.
Co-author of the study Can Kabadayi told IFLScience in an email, “The broadest significance of this study is about independent evolution of complex cognition. Since corvids and great apes are vastly separated phylogenetically, they must have [evolved] their flexible planning skills independently. Put simply, it is mind baffling that a similar set of complex skills can evolve in vastly distant lineages.”
IMAGE CREDIT:andamanse / 123RF Stock Photo
I am Jess Murray, wildlife conservationist, photographer, and writer. I like to document the natural world and create awareness through my writing so that your future can be sustainable and positive. Follow my Facebook page and Instagram account to be part of the journey.