Crows use mirrors to find food


Clever New Caledonian crows can use mirrors to find food, according to the scientists. Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, to test the reaction of wild crows on a mirror.

The Ravens did not recognize myself in the reflection, but by studying his own reflection, discover hidden food. Results of the study allowed the scientists attributed to the animal species of birds of the elite group, which includes primates and elephants, which are also able to process mirror information.

New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides), known for their intelligent and innovative use of tools such as twigs, which they use to hunt for insects, drawing them out of the holes and crevices of trees.

During the experiments, the mirror with other birds, but the same family Raven, it was revealed that magpies can recognize its reflection, and the crows out of the jungle - no. In this analysis, published in the journal "Animal Behaviour", psychologists have studied the ability of identification crows of New Caledonia, which are renowned for their extraordinary intelligence.

Scientists have captured 10 wild birds and placed them in large cages in order to observe their behavior, and in particular the reaction to the mirror. All crows, seeing his reflection, reacted as if they were faced with another outsider, the birds did a quick head movements, raised their tails and even tried to attack the reflection.

The principal investigator Philip Medina Rodriguez (Felipe S Medina Rodriguez) reported that the antagonistic reaction crows on their mirror image "is not surprising." He explained that the animal should usually spend a lot of time near the mirror before it begins to demonstrate an understanding of what it’s a picture of his own.

When the crows pulling back from the mirror and lost sight of his reflection, they often begin to look behind the mirror "other" bird. The researchers think that this behavior of birds, was probably caused by a lack of experience with mirrors, and similar reactions have been observed in primate infants and two year old children.

In the second part of the experiment, though, little was discovered surprising information. Scientists have developed a task in order to determine whether the crows use mirrors to find the pieces of meat that has been hidden from direct view. All crows are taking part in the experiment showed their understanding of how the reflection of the meat was linked to his position.

"We were surprised by how quickly the crows learned to use mirroring to find hidden food," - said the chief investigator. "Usually, the animal needs more time to start using the properties of mirrors to find access to the objects invisible." Some crows were a little prudence to rest, as the researchers noted, and this difference is indicative of the fact that they did not use their sense of smell, which helps them to find food.

Original: BBC Translation: M. Potter

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