Ravens use gestures to communicate with each other


02/12/2011

Such a strategy in behavior, as specified for certain items or parade them to draw on them, so someone’s attention so far has been characterized only for humans and their closest relatives, the great apes. Now Simon Peak (Simone Pika) Institute of Ornithology of the Max Planck Society and Bugnyar Thomas (Thomas Bugnyar) of the University of Vienna, provided the first evidence that ravens (Corvus corax), also use the so-called deikticheskie gestures in order to check the interest of a potential partner or to strengthen existing ties.

From an early age, children frequently use distinct gestures to draw the attention of adults to external objects. The so-called deikticheskie gestures such as "pointing" ("look here!") And "exhibiting objects" ("take"), children begin to be applied for the first time at the age of nine to twelve months, when they can not talk. Scientists believe that such gestures are based on relatively complex intelligence abilities and represent the initial stage of the use of symbols and, consequently, of human language. Deikticheskie gestures are thus successive stages in the development of human speech.

Surprisingly, the observation of comparable gestures used by our closest relatives, great apes, is quite rare. Chimpanzee (Troglodytes pans) in the Kibale National Park in Uganda, for example, using the so-called direct scratches to mark clear traces in the area of your body that needs to be groomed. Deikticheskie gestures in this case are extremely rare form of communication that is unique to primates.

According to the data of the two researchers from Zeevizina and Vienna, this behavior is not limited strictly humans and great apes. Within two years, Simon Pick and Thomas Bugnyar investigated silent behavior individually selected pairs of ravens of the whole colony of birds inhabit the alpine forests of the mountains near the village of Grunau in Austria. They noticed that the birds use their beaks as hands to show and offer objects such as moss, stones and twigs. These clear gestures mainly used in communication with the partners of the opposite sex which ended with the adoption of either proposal (77% of cases) or failure and aggressive behavior (23% of cases).

Scientists suggest that such an exchange of views helps the birds to strengthen their relationship and also to test the reliability of his partner, as most of the dialogue going on between married couples.

Ravens are songbirds belonging to the family Raven like jackdaws and magpies, and they surpass any other species of bird from the point of view of intelligence. Their results in the various tests are designed to test intelligence as high as that of the great apes. Ravens in particular can be characterized by a complex mezhparnym communication, over a relatively long period to form a relationship and a relatively high degree of cooperation between partners.

According to scientists, the Ravens were much abilities in non-verbal communication in comparison with primates. These birds may indicate freely on any subject, and quite consciously react to the signs that indicate the partner in dialogue, while the chimpanzee gestures are directed only to the actions or the bodies of their companions.

This new analysis shows that distinct gestures evolved in a species due to the high degree of ability to cooperate. "Studies gestures during a long period of time, generally tend to focus only on the ability to communicate primates. Mystery of the origin of human language, however, can be solved only if we consider and take into account the complexity of the systems of communication inherent in other groups of animals" , said Simon Pick of the Institute of the Max Planck Society of Ornithology.

Original: Sciencedaily


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