Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wild crows reveal tool skills

Date:
January 17, 2010
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
A new study using motion sensitive video cameras has revealed how New Caledonian crows use tools in the wild.

A new study using motion sensitive video cameras has revealed how New Caledonian crows use tools in the wild.
Credit: Copyright University of Oxford

A new study using motion sensitive video cameras has revealed how New Caledonian crows use tools in the wild.

Related Articles


Previous work has shown the sophisticated ways in which crows can use tools in the laboratory, but now a team of scientists from Oxford University and the University of Birmingham have investigated tool use in its full ecological context. The researchers recorded almost 1,800 hours of video footage for the study and published their findings in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

In the wild, New Caledonian crows use tools for many purposes, including 'fishing out' large beetle larvae from holes in dead wood. In the new study, the team was able to show for the first time that more larvae were extracted by crows using tools than with their beaks.

They also discovered that adult crows appeared to be much more skilled at obtaining larvae than juvenile crows, suggesting that considerable learning -- possibly from copying more experienced 'larvae fishers' -- is required for crows to become competent at this task.

Aside from recording the video footage the team also collected a large sample of tools that crows had left inserted into larvae burrows. By comparing the length of the tools to the burrows, they found that, on average, longer tools are found in deeper burrows -- suggesting that wild crows, like their cousins in the laboratory, are able to match the 'right' tool to the task. The collection also showed that wild crows do not select tools randomly, from debris on the forest floor, but are more likely to choose leaf-stems than twigs, and are more likely to use tools of a certain size range.

The research team included Dr Lucas Bluff, Dr Christian Rutz, Dr Alex Weir and Professor Alex Kacelnik from Oxford University's Department of Zoology, and Jolyon Troscianko from the University of Birmingham.

The work was funded by the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bluff et al. Tool use by wild New Caledonian crows Corvus moneduloides at natural foraging sites. Proceedings of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1953

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Wild crows reveal tool skills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100116105504.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2010, January 17). Wild crows reveal tool skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100116105504.htm
University of Oxford. "Wild crows reveal tool skills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100116105504.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins