Post by Graveyardbride on Dec 1, 2013 12:47:04 GMT -5
Why Crows Are So Intelligent
University of Tübingen investigators recently took a closer look at the brains of corvids, a family of birds that includes crows, ravens and magpies, in a bid to determine how these creatures are capable of displaying so many signs of advanced intelligence. Crows are renowned for being able to resolve very complex tasks in laboratory settings and in nature.
Experts Lena Veit and professor Andreas Nieder, both neurologists at the university, say that these birds are most likely to display intelligence when they are faced with situations where they have to make strategic decisions. They can use tools, modify their social behaviors according to circumstances, and can memorize a relatively high number of independent feeding sites.
The new research was carried out on crows that were trained to perform memory tests on a computer. The team found high levels of concentration and mental flexibility inside birds that were made to select between several images on touchscreens, based on rules the researchers selected. The work is detailed in the latest issue of the top journal Nature Communications.
Using advanced brain-imaging techniques, the science team was able to discover more neural activation in the nidopallium caudolaterale, a region of the brain that codes cognition in birds. This study provides some fresh insights into the parallel evolution of intelligent behaviors among different species.
Source: Tudor Viera, LearningRx, November 29, 2013.