Monday, April 26, 2010


There was an old gentleman with whom I used to go on an occasional ramble through nearby hills here in Edinburgh. He introduced me to a small family of four crows who knew him really well and who'd gently follow us for a good part of the way. In fact, I'd never have noticed this were it not for his devoted relationship to these particular birds, and they to him.

He passed away  a couple of years ago, sadly. What's certain is that he would have long known the things that 'scientists' belatedly come to realise, and whose understanding has to constantly shift towards giving these and other animals an almost begrudging newfound respect, whilst establishing dubious new standards for human 'uniqueness'. Many thanks to Luke for the link.



Alan.. said...

Some unsurprising news from the papers this week

Alan.. said...

oops. I just noticed that I posted a link to a comment peice about the grieving chimp story, rather than a link to the story itself.

antti juuso said...

William, I'm sure you're familiar with this video but I'm going to post it just in case:

New Caledonian crow wit at work. Pretty incredible footage.

Shonx said...

More animal related intelligence here, fire ants working together to save the eggs from their colony during a flood

Swarm intelligence seems to be quite influential in artificial intelligence circles now, as well as (to me) seeming to be a more accurate analogy of neural activity than the computational, flowchart theories of mental processing.

Grandpa Scorpion said...

Great article and post. I should have learned by now not be surprised by the complexity of animal behavior, especially "bird brains".

I am also surprised that the writer would tag on a comment about octopodes. Other (even more) complex behavior has been common knowledge for years.

Tony said...

Got the following text from my mate a couple of days ago:

"Holy Fuck! Just seen a seagull eating a pigeon alive!"

Just spoke to my friend today, apparently a taxi driver went nuts and kicked the seagull off, the pigeon was in a bad way. This happened in Newcastle city centre.

True story.