Thursday, January 13, 2005

Tool-use in crows

No, really.

I have long thought of tool use as one of the more obvious identifying traits of human beings, although quite clearly, other primates are capable of it. What I did not know is that some crows are capable of tool use, and are capable of doing it inately (Reuters), that is, without instruction from parents (or from human researchers).

There's more reading to do though; my attempts to find Kacelnick's (or, more likely, Kacelnik's) actual work have come up dry, in particular:

- His recent publication lists do not appear to be terribly current.

- Searching Nature doesn't help, it only lists one 1989 book review by Kacelnik, has 45 hits for Kacelnick, none of which have anything to do with crows and in fact no recent articles at all on tool-using crows by any author.

- What I have found so far is a 2002 article in Science which documents the ability of a crow to manufacture a tool with an astonishing video of a crow actually doing so.

UPDATE 15-Jan-2005: The article has now appeared; it would appear that Nature sends out its press-releases before putting articles onto its website...
UPDATE 19-May-2010: video (thanks: Chew Lin Kay)