Crows cleverer than first thought

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,057
Crows nest
#51
Cephalopods (not Cthulhu) were the brainiacs of the planet for a while: I doubt their brains work the same, yet we evaluate them in terms of tasks we can understand (solving puzzles,etc.). They can do unique things with each of 8 arms at the same time: a good portion is autonomic, but some is voluntary. What's that thing about signing your name and swinging a leg counter-clockwise?
I just remembered a speculative documentary series from the early 2000s called "The future is wild". It envisioned how life on the planet may evolve far in the future. One episode showed octopi having evolved to live on land, or rather in trees, where they swung from branch to branch, the apes of their day. Well worth watching.
 
Mar 2017
781
Colorado
#52
I have two copies of that DVD. It was a favorite of my kids (and me). It had big elephant cephalopods stumping along, as well.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,683
Sydney
#53
there also is the question of efficiency ,
our mamalian brain consume large amount of power /food , we are using electronic valves equivalent
Crow have mini brains , like silicon chip

I know it's a wrong simile but the fascinating thing about the crows analytical thoughts process is not that it's smart , it is that it is so efficient
 
Mar 2017
781
Colorado
#54
That implies the architecture of the brain itself is different. that avian brains work "differently". I could buy that, since they've had plenty of time to evolve, however this study says that the mechanics of mammalian, avian, and reptilian brains are pretty much the same. They're shaped differently, but the basic functioning cells are the same.

Study: Mammals and Birds Share Neuronal Cell Types Linked to Intelligence | Biology | Sci-News.com

If I read it correctly, the same kinds of neurons behave the same way, they're just grouped together differently. I don't buy the "more compact" ... I don't think the cells themselves are smaller ... but maybe the different groupings offer some advantage for the way they think.

I don't know how true that "you only use 10% of your brain" old saw is. If your head were 1/10th smaller, wouldn't it be bird-sized? I'm just saying maybe birds use 100% of their brains and we carry around a lot of extra ... for some reason. The brain cells are pretty much the same.



I looked up that 10% ... which is flatout not true. If fact, along with the silicon chip idea, this TED video states humans have the most dense brains of all animal species. I would guess the takeaway is that corvid brains are highly specialized: not more dense, just organized for what they need. It appears the biggest areas of the human brain have to do with abstract thought: it's not clear that corvids gain anything by being able to argue ontogeny vs philogeny.
https://www.brainfacts.org/Thinking...at-Percentage-of-Your-Brain-Do-You-Use-051716
 
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Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,057
Crows nest
#55
If I read it correctly, the same kinds of neurons behave the same way, they're just grouped together differently. I don't buy the "more compact" ... I don't think the cells themselves are smaller ... but maybe the different groupings offer some advantage for the way they think.
Very basically, the neurons in the mammalian brain are around the surface of six layers in our brains, the grey matter. The rest of the brain is taken up by white matter and the neuronal layers are connected through the white matter. The avian brain has hardly any white matter so just about the entire brain is filled with neurons, which are connected differently to ours. Ours look to be connected in a linear fashion, while in the avian brain they are connected in seemingly all different directions which, irrespective of just exactly how it works, gives greater connectivity and much shorter pathways within the brain. So while the structure of a HD and SSD is different to a living brain, I think the difference between the efficiency and denser storage capacity of the two gives a good analogy to compare the mammalian and avian brains. The stem brain is the same due to a common ancestor, and the neurons themselves seem to be the same, but there may be some differences that are not yet fully understood.

So birds proportionally have more grey matter in their brains than we do, allowing them to have more neurons with shorter connection distances. It seems that they really do have better brains, not just different, but quicker and more efficient. A limiting factor for them though is the number of neurons they can pack in their brains, as having a vast number of neurons, irrespective of any other factor, does give rise to "deep thought". We have about 86 billion neurons and ravens only about 1.2 billion, so despite their more efficient brains, they do actually need bigger brains in proportion to their body mass before they take over from us.
 
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Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,057
Crows nest
#56
However, ravens would not need 86 billion neurons to be as clever as us for they are as clever, and maybe more cleverer, than chimps with 22 billion. So ravens would only need to increase their brain size to four times it's current size from 15g to 60g, less than that of the average dog. Of course this would become problematical for flight as they would need to increase their EQ, not their body mass with stronger muscles. So only a flightless raven could become as intelligent as us, with muscle tissue not increased, but diverted to supporting a larger head. But I'm jumping ahead and going into speculation.
 
Jun 2012
6,955
Malaysia
#57
It's almost a wonder apes see as well as they do, as a species largely developed as arboreal. I don't think there's a marked difference between man-the-hunter and gorillas-the-vegetarians as far as sight.
I think gorillas are as much omnivore as humans. You just look at their teeth. It wud scare even a dog when it sees them bared at it. Definitely not the teeth of your average herbivore.

Mammals don't NEED this. What herbivores need is eyes that give them peripheral vision: something like 350 degrees. There's only a tiny blind spot at the back end (which is why you should never approach a horse silently from the rear ... unless you don't mind your spleen being ruptured by a kick).
For all that peripheral vision, it's still really amazing the frequency with which wild cattle & buffalo get ambushed by lions & tigers from behind.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,683
Sydney
#58
that's for the approach , and smell is by far the most important parameter
the attack is a fast rush before the prey has picked up enough speed
 
Jul 2017
2,057
Crows nest
#59
Well I guess this post will be buried under a tsunami of spam in a matter of minutes, but here goes.

Not corvids, but cockatoos. Some media outlets are reporting successful experiments with cockatoos cutting strips of cardboard with their bills to use to reach food, the main area of amazement being that they will cut a strip to match how far out of reach the food is. While reported today, it is an experiment from two years ago. Members of the parrot family are as intelligent as corvids, but don't get as much attention. The Daily Telegraph editorial suggests that these intelligent birds may have better brains than us for solving the Brexit conundrum

 
Jan 2017
2,683
Sydney
#60
most people are unaware than Australia is a land of plenty for the parrots families
we have them in all shape an sizes in my garden it goes from the friendly playful lorikeets .... lovely , if frankly dumb, gallahs
to the ultimate bad tempered , kings of the break and enter .....the sulfur crested cockatoos
they are smart with a vicious streak , would fight off a dog and sneer with contempt at a cat
keeping food away from them involve either a lot of thinking or a metal safe