Developing Intelligence

A really excellent PBS CBC (thanks m5) documentary on the surprising cognitive abilities of crows:

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.

See also how crows might be trained to do something a little more lucrative:

This latter video tells a great story, but as John Hawkes has pointed out, there is perhaps some confusion about how successful Josh Klein’s more lucrative experiments actually were.

Comments

  1. #1 m5
    October 27, 2010

    Actually this is a CBC doc that was aired on PBS in the States.

    Vive le Canada!

  2. #2 Kevembuangga
    October 28, 2010

    More lucrative than crows, rat trading, but this doesn’t seem to really involve intelligence.
    Side note: none of the PBS videos can be viewed in France due to %@!# copyright restrictions.

  3. #3 IanW
    October 28, 2010

    Of course they’re intelligent, otherwise how could they form a band and call it Stone Crowses?!

  4. #4 P Smith
    October 28, 2010

    Well, stone the crows! That’s an interesting idea.

  5. #5 Sean
    October 28, 2010

    Nor in Canada! Oh the irony!

  6. #6 AnyEdge
    October 28, 2010

    I have seen crows that have even used wire to fashion hooks, and things of that nature. Birds are awesome.

  7. #7 Fred Magyar
    October 28, 2010

    Very interesting indeed.

    However, if birds are actually descended from dinosaurs that makes me wonder if creatures such as TRex hadn’t been wiped out by some cataclysm would humans ever even had had a chance to evolve and build civilizations on this planet?

    Perhaps some completely different highly intelligent organism might have developed tools usage and built a radically different tool using civilization that raised farmed primates for food like we do with chickens today?

    KFM, Kentucky Fried Monkeys, well maybe they would have preferred their monkeys raw in little rice and seaweed rolls while enjoying intercontinental flights to warmer southern climes when it was too cold in the northern hemisphere… and CO2 caused global warming would now be hailed as the greatest achievement in the history of intelligent dinosaurs.

  8. #8 Tomca32
    October 28, 2010

    Exactly Fred, I was asking myself the same question quite a few times.
    If there was no cataclysm, and the dinosaurs did not die out, would we be much more than livestock now?

  9. #9 Sally Strange
    October 29, 2010

    Considering that ravens are, like, scarily intelligent, I don’t find this too surprising.

    Cool though!

  10. #10 MIke S
    October 30, 2010
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    November 2, 2010

    Kev: use TOR or some other tool to make it appear that you are connecting from the USA.

    Fred, re. intelligent dinosaurs: Some archaeologist worked out how a fairly common dinosaur could have evolved into an intelligent biped, and what that creature would look like. He created a model of it for a museum. And then he found out that it bore an amazing resemblance to the “Grays” (a species of ET) of UFO mythos.

    From this I tend to think that humans have a kind of instinct-level or archetypal grasp of alternative histories, from which they draw the elements that comprise their myths. If I was looking to create a species of ET for use in fiction, it might be sensible to derive it from the logical progression of a different evolutionary lineage on Earth than that which led to humans. Science fiction authors do this explicitly and perhaps more fantastically for effect, but don’t underestimate what the untrained imaginations of average people can also accomplish.

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    November 10, 2010

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  14. #14 JOED
    November 19, 2010

    this is such bullshit. the crow was taught to make the hook by a human.
    Don’t believe everything you see on the net. such crap.

  15. #15 Oyunu oyna
    November 22, 2010

    Well, stone the crows! That’s an interesting idea.

  16. #16 Dan Morgan
    December 2, 2010

    This idea of intelligence is, for me, the most intuitively objectionable aspect of evolution as it’s taught. Logically thinking, I would expect intelligence to be selected for most of the time, and that species would be getting progressively smarter. In fact, taking natural selection at face value, I would expect dolphins, wolves, chimps, and crows to be as intelligent as we are – if not more so. Animals with longer evolutionary histories should, overall, be smarter. Wouldn’t the smartest organism more often than not survive and reproduce? The sentience of humans, in this theory, just doesn’t add up.

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    December 16, 2010

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    December 27, 2010

    Of course they’re intelligent, otherwise how could they form a band and call it Stone Crowses?!

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    Nor in Canada! Oh the irony!

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  52. #52 joemat
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