An incredible discovery about ravens suggests that our fine feathered friends can act a lot like we do in some interesting ways.
An astonishing new study published in the journal Science recently claims that ravens are incredibly smart and seem to be able to plan for the future much like humans do. The bird family of corvids, which includes ravens and crows, has been well known among scientists as incredibly smart creatures, but this new evidence shows how even more extraordinary they are.
In the study, scientists at Sweden’s Lund University gave five ravens a series of puzzles, first teaching the birds how to get a food treat out of the puzzle box with a specific tool, and then inviting the ravens to interact with the puzzle box with no tools and with objects that didn’t work on the boxes.
With no puzzle box in sight, they then gave the ravens a number of options to choose from. They could take the functional tool, and a bunch of useless objects. About 15 minutes later, they put the puzzle box in place. About 86 percent of the time, the birds chose the right tool. And that didn’t include one female bird who figured out how to open the box without the tool.
“Despite previous research that indicates such behaviors are unique to humans and great apes, a new study shows that ravens, too, can plan ahead for different types of events , and further, that they are willing to forgo an immediate reward in order to gain a better one in the future,” the statement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science reads. “As ravens and great apes have not shared a common ancestor for over 300 million years, these results suggest that the cognitive “planning” abilities they share in common re-appeared, on a separate evolutionary path, in the birds. The complex cognitive task of planning ahead has almost exclusively been observed in humans and great apes. Some corvids, a family of birds that includes ravens, have also demonstrated the ability to plan beyond the current moment – but such findings have been confined to caching food.”