The Kid Should See This

Goffin’s cockatoos try to create tools to reach a treat

Are cockatoos as smart as a human 3 year old? Watch these four Goffin’s cockatoos attempt to create their own tools from a twig, larchwood, cardboard, and beeswax, an experiment by researchers from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna and the University of Oxford. From The New York Times:

The results made two things clear. First, these birds can transfer a skill to a completely different material. Both Figaro and Dolittle were able to make tools not only out of larch wood and twigs, but out of cardboard, which required a fairly complicated biting procedure to cut out a tool of the right length and width. Think of a toddler trying to master that task with kiddie scissors.

But the tests also showed clear variations in the abilities of different birds. Pipin seemed to have something against larch wood, but was able to trim a twig, as were all of the birds.

That was the only triumph for Pipin, whereas Kiwi could do twigs and larch wood, but not cardboard.

The birds were also offered beeswax, which none of them could turn into the equivalent of a stick.


Next: More Evidence Birds Can Count and a classic, must-see vid: The ultimate problem solvers? A wild crow solves a puzzle in 8 parts.

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