Bird-brain? Think again.
A new study published at Plos One reveals that cockatoos can pick complicated locks, with one bird unraveling the five interlocking components without being given a demonstration beforehand.
The paper is actually titled:
Explorative Learning and Functional Inferences on a Five-Step Means-Means-End Problem in Goffin’s Cockatoos (Cacatua goffini)
An abstract extract:
Most birds showed a ratchet-like progress, rarely failing to solve a stage once they had done it once. In most transfer tests subjects reacted flexibly and sensitively to alterations of the locks’ sequencing and functionality.
Alex Kacelnik, a professor of zoology at Oxford University ... and his colleagues, Alice Auersperg and Auguste von Bayern at the University of Vienna, placed a cashew nut behind a window fastened shut by a thin metal bar. The birds had to get through four additional locks that required them to pull a pin, turn a screw, remove a bolt, and rotate a wheel to reach the reward. More importantly, they had to do those actions in the correct order. If a cockatoo completed the first task, the scientists then rearranged the order of the four locks. They wanted to see whether the birds could modify their lock-picking behavior by doing the same four actions but in a different sequence.
One more episode in the great scientists' conspiracy against religion. One more fact that will need to be avoided by the pious.
How very interesting!
Yeah! They can be regular Houdinis when they want to be!
All this with a brain smaller than your pinky's fingernail.
If they can do it with a brain that small then why aren't we a lot more brilliant than we are using the ratio of their brains to our brain?
God. He's why we can't have good things. =)