Crows are smarter than you think…

As human beings, we distinguish ourselves from other animal species of our planet because of our highly developed cognitive abilities that enabled sentient intelligence.  There is no doubt that the human race as a species is the most cognitively advanced species on this planet because of our physical characteristics that we enable with the use of our expanded intelligence.  One of the reasons our brains evolved this way was because our earliest evolutionary ancestors used crude tools to give themselves survival advantages.  Things like sharpening a rock into an arrowhead to use for hunting, or sparking flint to make fire.  These little actions created advancements in our neural networks of our brain and has such continued for millennia through generations allowing the human brain to get to the point that it is at today.

However, just because we have the most developed brain does not mean we are the only animal species who use tools to fulfill needs.  In fact, there are a very small percentage of animal species that have cognitive abilities that allow them to develop skills such as using crude tools.  A new study claims that an endangered species of Hawaiian crow, known as the Alala, can efficiently use sticks as tools.  Now this is not very surprising because it has long been known that some species of crows have the ability to use tools for themselves.  As more species of crows are being discovered to have this shared trait as a natural characteristic of their behavior, it is now being assumed that this is a natural evolutionary trait for crows and not just a consequence of crows being kept in captivity.

The study was being conducted on the endangered species of the Hawaiian crow while 115 Alala were being kept in captivity, because they are extinct in the wild.  The biologists who care for the Alala and conducted this research plan to release captive Alala’s back into the wild at a rate of 12 birds per year for the next four years, in an attempt to save and restore the species back to existence in natural habitats.

3 thoughts on “Crows are smarter than you think…

  1. Casey Andrew Schaum

    Using a tool is something I never thought a crow would be able to do. I wish the crows here in Pennsylvania were as cool as the ones in Hawaii. This leads me to wondering if other birds could possibly use tools as well. One thing I know for sure is that I hope they never learn to use them as sufficiently as humans. That would be scary.

  2. Melanie Dawn Weltner

    Very interesting topic to discuss. Do you believe crows are smarter than they are perceived? I for one think we underestimate a lot of animals intelligence due to the fact that we see ourselves as superior in the animal kingdom, but could it be there are animals that actually may even be smarter than us? I once had a pet pig and never before did I think pigs were so intelligent, but we were able to teach her tricks in a matter or days. For example, she would sit on command and roll over. That is not the most interesting part though, she actually figured out where we kept all our food and would mercilessly break into our refrigerator because throughout living with us she took note that when we the humans were hungry we would go up to this white box and magically have food. Now I have three dogs and they never tried to break into the fridge. I love the idea that animals harbor a lot of intelligence that is unknown to the naked eye of a human and I hope as time progresses we will be able to figure out some way to measure the intelligence of a variety of different creatures and truly figure out how smart they really are.

  3. Jovian Ebony Osborne-pantlitz

    Wow! I’m learning a lot today from blog post. This is interesting seeing that crows do not have thumbs. I imagine that whatever tool they use, requires the use of their beaks and not their claws. But my question here is , do you think releasing the crows is a smart idea? Seeing that their “natural” animal instinct has been misconstrued due to routined behavior while being held captive. In the article below speaks about animals who have gone extinct once released:

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