Companion Vs. Other Animals

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Companion Vs. Other Animals
Comments by Laurie Ulrich Fuller - 5 Aug 2007

Speaking of intelligent birds, I offer the American Crow, who has been shown not to just use tools, but to MAKE them, as a video at the following link will show you: 

In this movie, you'll see a crow take a piece of wire, try to use it "as is" - straight - and then make it into a hook - by placing it under some duct tape and bending it. This requires the bird knowing that (A) the tape will hold the wire down, and (B) how far to walk with the end of the wire in its beak to bend it "just enough". Then the crow uses it to lift a small basket containing a meal worm, out of a long tube. We've all seen gorillas and chimps strip leaves off a branch and insert it into an ant hill or termite mound to extract bugs, but this is NOTHING compared to making a hook, using other tools (the tape) to make a new tool (a hook) from a piece of relatively foreign matter. The crow is NOT a trained crow - it's a wild crow captured and given this little puzzle to work out.

Crows have an extensive language, mate for life, and spend their entire lives living with family and close friends. They care for their sick members, and they can recognize people and cars at a great distance, even after just one or two sightings - making it interesting for scientists who annoy them with banding and other forms of study that causes them to have to capture and otherwise "annoy" the crows. Crows also figured out a way, in Japan, to use cars to break open nuts. They go to a pedestrian walkway (over a road), drop the nuts into traffic, and when cars run over them, they go down to the street and wait for the pedestrian walk light to go on, and they walk across the road with the pedestrians and pick up the broken nuts. According to studies, they may be more intelligent and capable of reasoning and logic than many primates.

They do eat meat (road kill and in garbage), and eat lots and lots of bugs, which is their role in the "food chain" -- cleaning up carrion and keeping bug populations in check. They also eat berries, peanuts, seeds, and other vegetation.



Laurie Ulrich Fuller

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