Fed2 Star - the newsletter for the space trading game Federation 2

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by ibgames

EARTHDATE: August 13, 2017

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by Hazed

We already know that ravens and other members of the corvid family are clever. A few issues ago I told you how they remember if you trick them. Now scientists have discovered that ravens can think about the future and plan ahead.

Swedish researchers Can Kabadayi and Mathias Osvath, of Lund University, tested five captive ravens in two tasks that they wouldn’t be called up on to do in the wild: using tools and bartering with humans.

The birds were shown a box that had a tube sticking out of the top, plus three stones. They figured out how to use a stone as a tool by dropping it down the tube to release a treat. In the process they experimented with other objects, such as a small wheel or a ball, and found that those tools would not work.

Then the researchers ran an experiment by showing the ravens the box, without making any stones available to the birds. They took the box away and an hour later, in a different location, they gave the ravens a tray containing a stone and three other objects which the birds knew wouldn’t work on the box. The ravens were allowed to pick one item from the tray. Then 15 minutes later, the box appeared again.

In 14 different encounters with the tray and the box, the birds usually chose the stone. The same thing happened when the box didn’t show up again until the next day.

This shows that the ravens could plan ahead by choosing a tool they thought they would need in the future.

The raven has often been seen as a bird of prophecy in myths and in literature. It seems there were reasons for that!

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/13/raven-think-about-future-planning-science-experiment

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