As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Animals that play with objects learn how to use them as tools


Date:  October 2, 2017
Source:  University of York

Researchers have discovered that New Caledonian crows and kea parrots can learn about the usefulness of objects by playing with them -- similar to human baby behaviour.

The study, led by researchers at the Universities of York and St Andrews, demonstrated that two types of bird were able to solve tasks more successfully if they had explored the object involved in the task beforehand.

It has long been thought that playful exploration allows animals to gather information about their physical world, in much the same way that human infants learn about their world through play.

In one of the first direct tests of this hypothesis, scientists studied two bird species, the New Caledonian crow and the kea parrot, to understand how they interact with objects before, during and after a task involving that object.

Dr Katie Slocombe, from the University of York's Department of Psychology, said: "Both species of bird are known for exploring objects in different ways. The New Caledonian crow use objects in the wild and the kea parrot is known for often being destructive in its play back in its native New Zealand.


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