Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Several months ago I watched in amazement as two crows strategically coerced a squirrel to forfeit a precious chunk of stale bread by surrounding the poor creature who was stranded on a low branch. Once the crust was given up from the squirrel's defeat, both birds lost interest in it but flew off, dropping it in Cedar Creek out of spite.
Recently their intelligence has become the object of interest to scientists in learning more about all of the animal kingdom, including ourselves. Study: Ravens communicate better than most of animal kingdom by Doug O'Harra of the Alaska Dispatch wrote how they have been observed gesturing to each other in communication about an object; a complex communication previously unknown outside of humans and primates.
This has spurred research on communications. On his website, Raven Politics, Thomas Bugnyar, co-author of the study wrote, "Ravens show striking abilities in judging and manipulating competitors but also engage in referential communication, social learning, and various forms of cooperation on the basis of social relationships." He states that "[u]nderstanding the social life of corvids may thus be critical in our attempt to understand primate cognition."