Being called a "Bird Brain" just may be a compliment


I just watched the most amazing special called "A Murder of Crows". Crows are the most intelligent birds. They demonstrate an amazing ability to learn either from their parents, from watching other birds, or from trial and error. One of the attributes that I found most amazing was their ability to recognize human faces and to teach their naïve young to avoid specific human faces they found threatening. Studies like these show that crows have a sophisticated ability to communicate. In fact, researchers were said to have identified over 250 distinct calls, with individuals also having 2 different dialects: a loud call they use to communicate with birds farther away in a flock and a softer call they use to communicate with family members in close proximity.

The most intelligent of the crow species are the New Caledonian crows which are said to be the smartest in the world. They have an amazing ability to use tools and improvise. I will let you watch the video to see the remarkable experiments.

Photo Credit: © 2009 A Murder of Crows, Inc.

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"Humans are different to other animals because..."

They use tools. Nope.

They use language. Nope.

They *make* tools. Nope.

They *make* language. Nope again!

They're self-aware. Nope again!

This is enormously fun. Every time someone tries to come up with a qualitative difference between humans and other animals, with which to assert some kind of moral uniqueness or superiority of humans, it's only a matter of time before a new finding comes out to demonstrate that the quality in question is shared with other species.

Quantitative differences: differences in *degree,* sure. But differences in *kind,* no.

But humans are the most intelligent with the most complex tools and language. I don't think there is much qualitative difference between humans and the most advanced other animals but there is a quantitative difference.

"Humans are different to other animals because..."

They have culture.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Nov 2010 #permalink

Humans laugh. Nothing else does.

By Michael Fox (not verified) on 18 Nov 2010 #permalink

Elephants laugh.

My cockatoo laughs. Check with other people who live closely with members of the parrot family. They do laugh and they laugh at appropriate times. Mine pulls pranks or includes himself in human conversation that are funny and mostly laughs when I do something stupid or when he gets my goat. He is prone to looking at me after he has done something bad and saying: How 'bout that?

Humans are different from other animals because only we have anthropomorphism.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Nov 2010 #permalink