The Next Time Someone Calls You “Bird Brained”…

Perhaps you should take it as a compliment

One of Aesop’s fables may have been based on fact, scientists report.

In the tale, written more than 2,000 years ago, a crow uses stones to raise the water level in a pitcher so it can reach the liquid to quench its thirst.

Now a study published in Current Biology reveals that rooks, a relative of crows, do just the same when presented with a similar situation.

…The crow and the pitcher fable was used by Aesop to illustrate that necessity is the mother of invention. But until now, the morality tale was not thought to have a grounding in fact.

To investigate further, a team from the University of Cambridge and Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) presented four captive rooks with a set-up analogous to the fable.

The birds were shown a clear tube containing a small amount of water. Floating upon it was an out-of-reach worm. And a pile of stones were positioned nearby.

Dr Nathan Emery, co-author of the paper, from QMUL, said: “The rooks have to put multiple stones in the tube until the worm floats to the top.”

And the four birds did just that. Two, called Cook and Fry, raised the water-level enough to grab the floating feast the very first time that they were presented with the test, while Connelly and Monroe were successful on their second attempt.

That’s pretty damned cool, it seems to me.

But tool users or not I still want to shoot the feathered little bastards when they wipe out my blueberries and grapes.


Our Hero scoping out the next place to drop some rocks…

6 Responses to “The Next Time Someone Calls You “Bird Brained”…”

  1. Retread says:

    I remember a nature show from a couple of years ago that had crows, or perhaps ravens, solving similar problems. IIRC, some of the tasks required multiple steps to get the prize and the birds succeeded each time.

  2. Rob says:

    Lucky bird. Tippi was the best/hottest of the Hitchcock blondes. Drop dead gorgeous. Sorry, had a crush on her once.

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    Indeed, a gorgeous bird.

    And the crow ain’t bad either.

  4. Rob says:

    Don’t know, Mr B. The crow looks pretty sad.

  5. greg newson says:

    Quote the raven nevermore.
    My favorite of all time was Kim
    Novak.But,Tippi was hot too.

  6. mojo says:

    Obviously, they did that promo pic before she spent two days having live birds tossed at her by a herd of grips…

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