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    Bird Intelligence 
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    In case anyone wasn't aware of research over the last few decades (and especially the last 15 years), many birds appear to be surprisingly intelligent ['surprising' only because humans can be a bit thick, some might say].

    Anyway, here's a New Caledonian crow (a member of the corvidae family which includes other brainiac birds including magpies, rooks and ravens) casually demonstrating a causal understanding of the physics of water displacement.

    Most average humans are able to figure this out by roughly 7 years of age. The crow is 2 years old. The reason we know this isn't just some kind of random 'autonomic-instinctive' capacity is because:


    "the crows all failed a task which violated normal causal rules, but they could pass these other tasks, which implies they were using a causal understanding when they were successful."



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    Crows are so cool, you can tell they'er quite intelligent. I got to know an African gray parrot for a few months, and she was so interesting. She was really funny. A lot of the time she'd say stuff that wasn't relevant but sometimes she'd reply to you in a way that really seemed to indicate she had replied specifically to something you said. She'd also make jokes that were relevant to the situation sometimes.
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    Interesting - i was thinking about this earlier this morning, because i looked out my window and saw a crow (what we tend to call Australian Ravens) sitting on our wheelie bin, ripping a bag that was slightly protruding the lid, ripping all sorts of random shit out.
    I went out to secure the lid, and it moved on immediately - they're extremely clever birds.

    I used to work at a university, and one day came across a crow with a broken wing on campus.
    I took pity on it and shared my lunch with it, and within a day or two, it trusted me and was eating from my hand.
    About a week later, i was standing in a line at a coffee shop on campus, amongst dozens of people, and the same crow came up to me, stood at my feet and looked up at me in anticipation that i'd feed it.

    It kinda surprised me that it recognised me in a big group of random people. They're smart alright.
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    ^ which fits all the research.

    Wild crows can recognise individual human faces and hold a grudge for years against people who have treated them badly. This ability – which may also exist in other wild animals – highlights how carefully some animals monitor the humans with whom they share living space.


    https://www.newscientist.com/article...-the-evil-eye/


    Crows can also communicate with other crows (without them ever having seen the human in question) to target and attack these individual humans.
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    This is a pretty cool article that discusses that a little more:


    6 Terrifying Ways Crows Are Way Smarter Than You Think
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    Quote Originally Posted by CFC View Post
    ^ which fits all the research.

    Wild crows can recognise individual human faces and hold a grudge for years against people who have treated them badly. This ability – which may also exist in other wild animals – highlights how carefully some animals monitor the humans with whom they share living space.


    https://www.newscientist.com/article...-the-evil-eye/


    Crows can also communicate with other crows (without them ever having seen the human in question) to target and attack these individual humans.
    Yeah, australian Magpies do that also. If you fuck with them, they swoop.
    They have massive beaks, and have no trouble taking an eye out.

    It makes sense that animals have learned to monitor our behaviour, given the way we dominate and manipulate the environment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CFC View Post
    Crows can also communicate with other crows (without them ever having seen the human in question) to target and attack these individual humans.
    A good friend of mine was considering pursuing a doctorate in the field of animal communication. He ended up going another way, but his plan was to study the communication of crows and try to derive syntax from their vocal communication, because it seems clear they can communicate on a pretty high level, and may have language capabilities.
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    Wow that article is fascinating. Here's a quote from it:

    In another tube-based experiment, some food was placed in a little basket and then placed in a tube just out of reach of a crow named Betty. She and another crow, Abel, had two pieces of wire they could use to get the basket: One hooked, one straight. Abel grabbed the hooked wire and took off, while Betty took the straight piece, bent the wire into a hook and then used it to pull the basket out of the tube. This was not some trick Betty picked up through training. This was the first time she or Abel had ever encountered wire.
    And another

    When scientists attached small cameras to the tails of some New Caledonian crows, they discovered the birds were using sticks to get bugs out of trees. Typical bird stuff, right? Well, they also used stiff leaves and grass to manufacture knives, then used those knives to manufacture other tools. If the crows discovering how to makes shivs somehow doesn't scare you, surely the fact that they have discovered industry is cause to start rolling out the anti-raven zeppelins, right?
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    That last one kind of goes to show how fortunate humans are to have opposable thumbs.
    Other animals are "held back" by physiology in some ways.
    Yet - they have the power of flight.

    Nature is mind-blowing.
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    ^ pretty spooky huh?

    I think one of the most common things people say when it comes to birds is "how can they possibly be as intelligent as a child/chimpanzee/orangutan, their brains are the size of a walnut!"

    And we recently discovered how: their brains have several times the density of human brains.

    They actually have as many neurons packed into that little walnut as some primates. By evolving a completely unique solution to the problems of packing more processing power into a space whose size is limited by the need to fly, they developed a different way of structuring the brain. The spaces between neurons are drastically reduced. Which also likely increases the relative speed at which they can process data between the various lobes compared to, say, a dog or a human.

    This is one article, but I've read a much better one before with diagrams, which is more helpful.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xorkoth View Post
    A good friend of mine was considering pursuing a doctorate in the field of animal communication. He ended up going another way, but his plan was to study the communication of crows and try to derive syntax from their vocal communication, because it seems clear they can communicate on a pretty high level, and may have language capabilities.
    It would be fascinating to study. If I had 4-5 lifetimes, I'd definitely like to do something like that
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    Crows, my kids, beside intelligence they are the totem of death. Fuckin curiosity and filthy humans sluts invade the nature, but the nature itself it's more powerful and more darker than a dystopian thing.
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    #13
    thanks, interesting post.

    I remember seeing a documentary in which a girl had formed a friendship with some crows. She would feed them everyday and the crows would bring her presents. Couldn't find the original clip but found this one which showed the same behavior. It's a pretty uncommon behavior amongst animals from what I've seen and a clever adaptation.

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    #14
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    ^ Yeah, this girl:

    The girl who gets gifts from birds






    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31604026



    There's also this nice story about the Magpie Penguin that 'saved a family':


    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...scued-a-family
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    #15
    Nice, thanks CFC, couldn't remember where I had seen that.

    I noticed wikipedia has an entry on bird intelligence that was a pretty good introduction to the topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_intelligence

    I thought it was really interesting (if true) that crows might be able to count up to 3 and therefore have concepts like numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by wiki wiki fresh
    Anecdotal evidence from the 1960s has suggested that crows may count up to 3.
    Reminded me of George Gamows' popular book "One Two Three... Infinity" which starts out by talking about a tribe in Africa called the "Hottentots" (Khoikhoi), who are said to have words only for "one", "two", "three", and "many" in their vocabulary when it comes to numbers/counting.

    Bonus Question: If a Hottentot tribe member came to Bluelight seeking harm reduction advice for measuring out 14 mg dose of 3-MeO-PCP and they have a scale accurate down to the microgram range, but don't have concepts for numbers like 14, how would you explain to them a safe way to measure out a 14 mg dose of a substance (assuming they can only recognize the number 1, 2 and 3 on the scale) in a way they can understand?
    Last edited by levels; 02-05-2018 at 02:33. Reason: bonus question
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