Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shared Intelligence

I've always liked crows. Noisy, inquisitive, sly and above all else, irreverant and smart, these brazen denizens of the woods and fields never fail to make their presence known when a mob of them settle on one or two trees and proceed to "talk" to one another ad nauseum. Seems they also have a wicked sense of humor to go along with all the other traits listed in this post.

But “Gifts of the Crow,” by John N. Marzluff and Tony Angell, includes a description of one behavior that even Aesop never imagined.

“On Kinkazan Island in northern Japan,” the authors write, “jungle crows pick up deer feces — dry pellets of dung — and deftly wedge them in the deer’s ears.”


I checked the notes at the back of the book, and this account comes from another book, written in Japanese. So I can’t give any more information on this astonishing claim, other than to say that Dr. Marzluff, of the University of Washington, and Mr. Angell, an artist and observer of birds, think that the crows do it in the spirit of fun.

Years ago, BRT did a blurb on Alex, a grey parrot brilliant beyond words, something echoed here and in another book titled. Bird Sense.

The notion of primates and cetaceans having a monopoly on true intelligence is  fallacious beyond words as seen by quotes such as these. A question yours truly asks from time to time is; What would have happened if the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs had not hit earth given the inherent smarts of  theropods, the ancestors of birds.

Utah Raptor
Interesting question  don't you think?

Cuttlefish, Squid & Octopus also qualify as entities possessing extreme intelligence as well. :)
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