SEP 03, 2016 08:02 AM PDT

The Frighteningly Smart Things Crows Can Do

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Long regarded as omens of death and bearers of bad news, crows have regained the spotlight in recent years for some positive attributes for a change. In particular, crows are proving to be much more intelligent than we can imagine. Some feats actually have scientists floored!

A crow's brain is the size of a thumb. Though that sounds small, it's actually pretty impressive given the size of its body. And this ‘bird brain' can do a lot. Scientists have documented facial recognition in crows, as well as some form of communication among the entire flock. In addition, crows demonstrate keen abilities to use tools. For example, they know which stones to use to displace water to get at food. They're also the only non-human animals to use curved tools.

But the topper on crows' intelligence may be those in Japan that can seemingly strategize for food. Specifically, the crows here have been observed to drop hard-to-break nuts directly in a car's path so that the tires can crack open the food. Then, once the traffic is stopped at red lights, the crows swoop down and collect their tasty reward at minimal effort. This frighteningly smart act redefines exactly what it means to have a "bird brain."
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 12, 2018
Health & Medicine
SEP 12, 2018
Before You Tear the Moldy Portion of Your Bread Off and Call it Good... Watch This
While most people cringe at the thought of a moldy piece of bread lurking in their refrigerator, there exist bolder people who will gladly tear the moldy b...
SEP 20, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 20, 2018
Defining the "Colors" of Antimatter
Atoms of regular matters, such as hydrogen, can emit a distinct spectrum of lights when their electrons get excited and move between two different ene...
OCT 01, 2018
Videos
OCT 01, 2018
Is Bigger Better?
Bigger is better, right? If you’re trying to insult someone you might call them a “pea brain” or tell them they have a “bird brain,...
OCT 05, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 05, 2018
Nuclear Reactor, Constructed by Nature
Uranium-235, making up about 0.72% of natural uranium on Earth, is a fissile isotope that fuels the nuclear chain reaction.  Back in 1972, staffs who...
OCT 05, 2018
Videos
OCT 05, 2018
What is Site-directed Mutagenesis?
Site-directed mutagenesis is a common tool in the molecular laboratory. But someone had to pioneer it first....
OCT 21, 2018
Videos
OCT 21, 2018
What's up With Gluten?
It took many years for scientists to discover that gluten sensitivity was a real condition....
Loading Comments...