For those of you interested in corvid intelligence

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: For those of you interested in corvid intelligence
From: knightl <>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 16:33:55 +1000

The Mentality of Crows: Convergent Evolution of Intelligence in Corvids
and Apes
Nathan J. Emery1* and Nicola S. Clayton2

Discussions of the evolution of intelligence have focused on monkeys
and apes because of their close evolutionary relationship to humans.
Other large-brained social animals, such as corvids, also understand
their physical and social worlds. Here we review recent studies of tool
manufacture, mental time travel, and social cognition in corvids, and
suggest that complex cognition depends on a "tool kit" consisting of
causal reasoning, flexibility, imagination, and prospection. Because
corvids and apes share these cognitive tools, we argue that complex
cognitive abilities evolved multiple times in distantly related species
with vastly different brain structures in order to solve similar
socioecological problems.

1 Sub-Department of Animal Behaviour, University of Cambridge, CB3 8AA,
2 Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, CB2
3EB, UK.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: 

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