Thursday, August 08, 2002

In our arrogance, we once believed only humans made tools. What else are we wrong about?


Thursday, 8 August, 2002, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Amazing powers of birds

The crow is putting our closest cousins to shame.
Experiments show the humble bird is better than the chimp at toolmaking.
British zoologists were astonished when a captive crow - Betty - fashioned a hook out of wire to reach food.
It is the first time any animal has been found to make a new tool for a specific task, say Oxford University researchers.
They believe the bird shows some understanding of cause and effect.
"It is not only cleverer than we think in this particular direction but probably, at least in relation to tools, has a higher level of understanding than chimpanzees," says Alex Kacelnik, Professor of Behavioural Ecology....

Full details of the Oxford University research are published in the journal Science.