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Posted on May 28, 2009
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How smart are crows?  Really, very smart indeed. From the BBC

Rooks have a remarkable aptitude for using tools, scientists have found.

Tests on captive birds revealed that they could craft and employ tools to solve a number of different problems.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, came as a surprise as rooks do not use tools in the wild.

Despite this, the UK team said the birds’ skills rivalled those of well-known tool users such as chimpanzees and New Caledonian crows.

Dr Nathan Emery, from Queen Mary, University of London, an author of the paper, said: “The study shows the creativity and insight that rooks have when they solve problems.”

The scientists focused on four captive rooks: Cook, Fry, Connelly and Monroe, and discovered that the birds were able to use tools in a number of ways to solve a variety of problems.

For example, the birds were presented with a vertical tube, running down to a trap-door with an out-of-reach worm perched upon it, as well as a number of different-sized stones placed nearby.

The scientists discovered that the rooks would select the largest stone, which was heavy enough to push open the trap-door when dropped and release the snack.

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