For many years, humans thought themselves uniquely special in the animal universe due to their intelligence, ability to plan, and the fact that we use tools.
Research conducted in recent years, however, have proven that we are not perhaps as unique as we once thought. Apes and chimpanzees have shown an ability to use tools and even plan ahead for the future. Now, a new study shows that ravens can do these things as well, and the once mystical birds may never be seen the same.
Ravens Think Ahead Like Humans and Apes
The new study was carried out at a rural research farm in Sweden. There, cognitive zoologist Mathias Osvath conducted an experiment where he trained ravens to use a key that opened a special box which contained a treat the birds loved.
He then proceeded to offer them the tool next to a lesser treat, while hiding the box. The birds never chose the tool until the researcher put the box back out. Not only does this show an ability to use a tool and predict its purpose, but also to plan for potential better outcomes, as well as demonstrate self-control and advanced reasoning.
“It’s not just the fact they have these skills independently,” said Osvath in a statement. “But to use them together to make these complex decisions, that’s what makes it so amazing.”
He further made an analogy, which envisioned a future trip to London. Osvath then stated that, if the traveler knew how often it rained in this city, they would bring an umbrella with them. They would do so even if it weren’t raining where they were during planning.
“That’s what we are talking about here, planning based on past experience.”
This study is not the first of its kind proving that there are many levels of intellect in animals. Humans are also not the only ones to possess particular characteristics of it. All animal intelligence may never be seen the same again.
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