Can Crows Make Tools from Scratch?

Photo by Matteo Paganelli on Unsplash

In a new research, scientists tried to learn how advanced crows are in making simple tools from scratch. Members of this species have already shown the ability to break off pieces of a branch, forming a hook they would use to pull something. When a male crow had taken all the hooks, the female crow actually made a new one using a piece of wire.

“These crows are just amazing,” said Irene Pepperberg, an avian cognition expert and research associate in Harvard University’s department of psychology. “They are head and shoulders above almost every other avian subjects at toolmaking.”

The birds managed to learn to tear a paper to a certain size, as previously thought by the scientists.

“The tool use and the progressive accumulation of proficiency or of complexity in tools is something that hasn’t been demonstrated in species other than humans to my knowledge,” said John Marzluff, an expert in crow behavior and a professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington. “We’re not so unique ourselves,” he continued about humans, “just perhaps better or more advanced at doing certain tasks.”