Crows show ability to reason

Dr. Alex Taylor from The University of Auckland has demonstrated that New Caledonian crows have the ability to perform causal reasoning, which is the ability to infer that something you cannot see may be the cause of something. According to the article, this is the first study to experimentally demonstrate this ability in a species other than humans.

Source
Science Now

More like this

You don't have to be particularly intelligent to use tools - many animals do so, including some insects. But it takes a uniquely intelligent animal to be able to combine different tools to solve a problem. We can do it, the great apes can do it, and now the New Caledonian crow joins our exclusive…
There are 19 new articles in PLoS ONE today. As always, you should rate the articles, post notes and comments and send trackbacks when you blog about the papers. You can now also easily place articles on various social services (CiteULike, Mendeley, Connotea, Stumbleupon, Facebook and Digg) with…
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…
Crows are smart. Really smart. But just how smart are they? Studying non-human primates, particularly gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees, researchers have shown that they're capable of what's called meta-tool use, or using one tool with another tool (I've mostly seen it defined as using one tool…

Here's an alternative explanation, that might or might not have any merit: the crows know that the stick comes from behind the blind, and see the human (whom they might trust as a member of their social group) enter the blind and leave safely. Rather than figuring that the stick movement was caused by the human, they see that the human has been exposed to the stick without being harmed and do not fear the stick. Crows socially mob potential predators, so perhaps seeing a member of their group (assuming that crows, like dogs, can incorporate humans into their social structure and have had the opportunity to do so) investigate a potential threat and deem it harmless would reduce their anxiety about that threat.

I really don't know much about crows, though - what do folks with more knowledge think about this idea? It surely assumes some intelligent thinking, but not in the same way as "humans cause stick movement."

Next time someone calls me a birdbrain, I will take it as a compliment. :-)

Surely the crow was just unsure if the human was going to enter the second time, since it had seen evidence of this happening previously?

Hey, that's great.I've never imagined that crows (or any other birds) can be so intlneigelt. The most impressive is that their behavior is propagating between them.But imagine teaching them something wrong how to unlearn them doing such things this can be a interesting question from security point of view.