DEC 30, 2015 07:35 PM PST

Crows Recorded on Video Making Their Own Tools for Hunting

For ages, humans and our ancestors have used tools to make hunting and gathering easier, and it was once thought that humans were among the only animals in the wild to harness this kind of ability, but in a recent experiment, scientists have recorded New Caledonian Crows making their own tools to make catching food easier on them as well.
 
University of Exeter’s Dr. Jolyon Troscianko and University of St. Andrews’ Dr. Christian Rutz were the brains behind the experiment.
 
"While fieldworkers had previously obtained brief glimpses of hooked stick tool manufacture, the only video footage to date came from baited feeding sites, where tool raw materials and probing tasks had been provided to crows by scientists,” Troscianko said. “We were keen to get close-up video of birds making these tools under completely natural conditions."
 

Crows are seen using own tools to hunt and gather food.


The tools, which are incredibly uncomplicated, are hooked twigs or branches that the crows used to scavenge grubs and other kinds of food from rotting wood. The crows have actually chosen branches that are hook-shaped, unique for the job at hand, and have plucked off unwanted leaves that would otherwise get in the way.
 
Scientists recorded the crows that were using the hook-shaped twigs and branches to pluck bugs from trees by strapping special cameras with bio-degradable rubber to the back feathers of the birds such that the camera would display what was going on in front of the bird by peering in between the legs.
 
This gave scientists a good view of how the tools were used, and the bio-degradable rubber allowed the cameras to safely leave the bird after recording was finished without harming the bird in any way shape or form.
 
The scientists noted that crows in captivity were more likely to become handy with their surrounding environment than crows in the wild are, and that the tools were particularly valuable to the crows in that they would re-use them instead of getting rid of them when finished with them.
 

 
Because crows are relatively sensitive to disturbances, the only way the scientists were able to observe this behavior was from afar and with the cameras. They’re less likely to do interesting things when people are in the vicinity.
 
This level of intelligence and behavior, not often seen in wild animals, definitely makes you wonder how other animals think, especially when it comes to getting food for survival.

Source: Biology Letters

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 08, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 08, 2018
Ancient Animal Provides a New Window Into Tissue Cohesion
Trichoplax adhaerens has no muscles, neurons, or defined shape but still makes coordinated movement....
NOV 29, 2018
Microbiology
NOV 29, 2018
Bacteria may Explain the Symbiotic Relationship of Anemones & Clownfish
Sea anemones normally kill and eat fish. But clownfish can nestle into anemones without getting stung....
DEC 10, 2018
Plants & Animals
DEC 10, 2018
Russian Scientists Describe a Newly-Discovered Sauropod
With as much excavating as paleontologists do, it’s no surprise that they’re always happening upon new fossilized discoveries that tell untold...
DEC 18, 2018
Plants & Animals
DEC 18, 2018
Learn Why the State of Utah Drops Fish From Airplanes
Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources drops thousands of fish into mountain lakes from airplanes every single year, and while it might seem like a po...
DEC 29, 2018
Earth & The Environment
DEC 29, 2018
Fish ear bones track coal ash contamination
Coal ash contamination is a public health threat across the United States. Coal ash refers to the toxic remains of coal burning in power plants. The chemic...
JAN 05, 2019
Videos
JAN 05, 2019
Photorespiration Shortcut Boosts Crop Yield
Most crops on earth don't photosynthesize efficiently; they sometimes use a wasteful cellular pathway called photorespiration....
Loading Comments...