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Crows Complete Basic Aesop's Fable Task

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the just-so-science dept.

Science 87

jones_supa writes: "New Caledonian crows — already known to be smart — may also understand how to displace water to receive a reward, with the causal understanding level of a 5-7 year-old child, according to results published in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Sarah Jelbert from University of Auckland and colleagues. As demonstrated in the included video, 'Scientists used the Aesop's fable riddle — in which subjects drop stones into water to raise the water level and obtain an out-of reach-reward — to assess New Caledonian crows' causal understanding of water displacement. ... Crows completed 4 of 6 water displacement tasks, including preferentially dropping stones into a water-filled tube instead of a sand-filled tube, dropping sinking objects rather than floating objects, using solid objects rather than hollow objects, and dropping objects into a tube with a high water level rather than a low one. However, they failed two more challenging tasks, one that required understanding of the width of the tube, and one that required understanding of counterintuitive cues for a U-shaped displacement task.' The authors note that these tasks did not test insightful problem solving, but were directed at the birds' understanding of volume displacement."

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87 comments

Truth to this (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610435)

[quote]The authors note that these tasks did not test insightful problem solving, but were directed at the birds' understanding of volume displacement.[/quote]

It would be nice to see if such laws of volume displacement could be understood by this country's fast food connoisseurs.

Re:Truth to this (1, Offtopic)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#46610635)

It would be nice to see if such laws of volume displacement could be understood by this country's fast food connoisseurs.

Of course it is. Why else do you think that they fill your beverage container nearly to the brim with ice before dispensing already chilled soda pop into it?

Re:Truth to this (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 4 months ago | (#46610689)

>It would be nice to see if such laws of volume displacement could be understood by this country's fast food connoisseurs.

...or air crash experts:

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyli... [nbcnews.com]

Let them be. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610445)

I'm pretty sure most college stoners would fair worse in these tests. Moreso, soldiers.

They should give these things the right to vote.

Re:Let them be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610523)

Arm them, and see if they can displace people from the habitats we ruin with seeming impunity. Then we'll see if there's hope for the future based on the ability of the natural world to withstand the onslaught of man.

well written (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610593)

rock on /. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLO3NmGJuHg

Re:Let them be. (1)

The123king (2395060) | about 4 months ago | (#46612773)

Intelligence means nothing in the face of hatred and prejudice. Even the smartest minds in the world can make dumbass decisions (Manhattan Project).

On a slightly unrelated note, if life can survive in the waters of Lake Hodgeson, or survive the devistating results of the imacto f a meteor six miles across, i doubt Man has the capability to completely wipe out life on this planet

Re:Let them be. (3, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#46614079)

Manhattan Project

That wasn't a dumbass decision. Sure bits of it were, loke propping apart two bits of a critical mass with a screwdriver, but the project as a whole was not. It basically started the nuclear industry which has saved vast numbers of lives.

The number of people not killed in coal mining exceeds the number killed as a result of nuclear weapons and accidents. The numbers are quite easy to work out: the generating capacity and deaths per kWh are known well for all power generation techniques worldwide.

And that's not getting into any of the nuclear side benefits, things like useful isotopes in things like medical tests, fire alarms etc etc.

And now back to the warlike element. While it would be nice if everyone got along and didn't have weapons, the fact is that if anyone does, everyone does. Bear in mind the Third Reich was working on nuclear weaponary and had unstoppable ballistic missiles.

Ultimately though, nuclear weapons are mid 1940-s level tech that's well understood. Given that any large nation state can develop it, I'm glad that my allies and country had it first/early.

Re: Let them be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46618735)

Maybe you should start with yourself dickhead. Happy displacement.

Re:Let them be. (4, Funny)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about 4 months ago | (#46610541)

Perhaps those who cannot tell the difference between "fair" and "fare", and use the proper one in the right context, should not be the first to demean others.

Re:Let them be. (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#46610663)

Perhaps those who cannot tell the difference between "fair" and "fare", and use the proper one in the right context, should not be the first to demean others.

Exactly. For example, the MPAA and the RIAA are all about fare use.

Re:Let them be. (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#46611117)

the MPAA and the RIAA are all about fare use

Specifically, they think fare use is for the birds: Three fowl plays and you're bunted out!

Re:Let them be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46611281)

the MPAA and the RIAA are all about fare use

Specifically, they think fare use is for the birds: Three fowl plays and you're bunted out!

Speaking of not knowing the difference between fair and fare...

Re: Let them be. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46611335)

Whooooosh!

There goes your Internet.

Re: Let them be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612893)

Whoosh? Explain.

Re: Let them be. (1)

mnemotronic (586021) | about 4 months ago | (#46613161)

"Whoosh" is the sound made by a joke flying right over someones head. Have you had your hearing checked recently?

Re: Let them be. (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 4 months ago | (#46613331)

Which is funny, because the sound is more like shhhgrrssheeeoooow.. but that doesn't spell out as well...

Re: Let them be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613359)

Yes, I know that "Whoosh" is the sound made by a joke flying right over someones head. What I'm asking for is an explanation of the joke that went over my head, because in my corner of the multiverse, the **AA is deadly serious about finding a way for people to pay each time they use content. Fare use is definitely NOT "for the birds".

Re: Let them be. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 4 months ago | (#46613399)

You must have missed the bit about "Three fowl plays and you're bunted out!"

That's a reference to the "three strikes and you're disconnected/banned at the ISP level" legislation that has popped up in various locales, lobbied for by the media industry folks. As far as I can tell, the source of your whooshing was a joke in a joke, and I must say I found it pretty amusing.

Re: Let them be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46614047)

And fowl means bird.

Re: Let them be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46614711)

You must have missed the bit about "Three fowl plays and you're bunted out!"

That's a reference to the "three strikes and you're disconnected/banned at the ISP level" legislation that has popped up in various locales, lobbied for by the media industry folks. As far as I can tell, the source of your whooshing was a joke in a joke, and I must say I found it pretty amusing.

I can see humour if it was fair use. The media industry has repeatedly issued DMCA takedown notices on fairly used content. For them, fair use rules are trivial and unimportant - "for the birds", as evidenced by their claims that such content is foul/"fowl".

I fail to see any amusing aspect if it was fare use. Fare use (ie, paying for each view/listen) seems to be the ultimate goal of the media industry, not something that is for the birds. Have media industry folks been issuing takedown notices on pay per view content?

I know some adults who wouldn't pass that test (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 4 months ago | (#46610471)

The fact that the average crow can means they're likely a lot smarter than even these researchers give them credit for.

Stone the crows! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#46610511)

...or they will quickly learn to stone you?

Re:Stone the crows! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610605)

...or they will quickly learn to stone you?

You would be surprised just how much carrion crows can and do learn , I had one as a pet for many years .
Free to come and go as he pleased but never went further than a tree in next doors garden .

If government members both side of the pond had as many brains we might actually get some where .

Very bright intelligent cheeky also trusting once they get to know you ... with their own way of telling you you're pushing it a bit a nip between the thumb and finger was old jimmy's favorite method ..

Wish i still had him now .

Re:Stone the crows! (1)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about 4 months ago | (#46610697)

... with their own way of telling you you're pushing it a bit a nip between the thumb and finger was old jimmy's favorite method ..

Jim Crow? seriously?

Re:Stone the crows! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46611951)

... with their own way of telling you you're pushing it a bit a nip between the thumb and finger was old jimmy's favorite method ..

Jim Crow? seriously?

Yep seriously he came to his name he responded with a call to his name , was also reasonably well behaved in the house which he had full access to along with 4 cats they all just got on ..
#
in a crappy flat now so no tame crow right now but hope to move into the countryside so maybe another one yet ..

Re: Stone the crows! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613195)

Re:Stone the crows! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613629)

Jim crow was ideology not an actual person, though i think there may have been an actual person by that name at some point im sure.

crows (2)

tleaf100 (2020038) | about 4 months ago | (#46611145)

me too.i was infamous in salisbury,wilts.uk in the mid 1960's for having huge crow when i was a young kid,local tv and country show fella did a program but they re-used the tape later on,so the progs gone. mine was called charlie,28" tall,5 foot+ wing span. me 6 years old on my pedal trike,massive borsouise dog tied to handle bar of trike and huge crow sat on handle bars too. pure crow,no raven,he was checked and tested at bristol zoo.

Re:I know some adults who wouldn't pass that test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610729)

To be serious, humans not passing this test would do so because of not staying focused / not caring about it. Everyone should be capable of solving this if they really want it.

Re:I know some adults who wouldn't pass that test (2)

muecksteiner (102093) | about 4 months ago | (#46613859)

You haven't had much to do with the general public out there, now have you?

It's only a matter of time (5, Funny)

Chris Parsons (3398385) | about 4 months ago | (#46610515)

before crows figure out how to use youtube. Next step world domination.

Re:It's only a matter of time (3, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46610927)

Actually they've already done so:
Step 1: Selectively breed some apes to create sprawling metropolises chock full of delicious garbage.
Step 2: Profit!

Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46611551)

the internet IS just a series of tubes afterall

Re:It's only a matter of time (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#46613445)

before crows figure out how to use youtube

They already have - there are plenty of crow videos on YouTube. Instead of learning how to use a camera and YouTube, they've trained ape-descendents to do all the hard work for them.

I'm sure you can find a video of these crows doing their tests on YouTube.

our centerpeace momkind new clear options timely (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610517)

nick of time intervention on our zionic nazi WMD on credit life0cide franchise overdue? http://rt.com/usa/human-rights-us-un-757/

mynuts won? cowardly lion clubbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610633)

/. now whitewash capitol of social media http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=phosphorous+weapon&sm=3 even the crows cannot survive us?

Everything makes sense now (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610531)

This explains why I've always preferred the company of crows, jackdaws and magpies over that of human beings.

Re:Everything makes sense now (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#46611155)

What a dinosaur.

Experiment yourself (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610631)

I put out random old food I'd otherwise throw away for the crows (and an occasional opossum that takes what they leave behind). They are interesting to watch. They will take hard dried food like pretzels and old bread and drop them in a puddle or the bird batch to soften them up. They also take food fly away and hide it and come back for more. Another interesting thing is how they interact with a Hawks. Occasionally a hawk will land and investigate the food or the commotion. The crows initially back off but eventually one or two of them will cautiously walk up behind it and pester it and pull at it's tail feathers until he finally gets frustrated and leaves. They do other things that others birds don't.

Re:Experiment yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610727)

I've seen 5 crows gang up on a red-tailed hawk and drive him from the area.

Back when West Nile virus decimated the corvid populations it was common to see a crow funeral. One would drop dead from the trees and the others would take turns flying to the ground to eulogize him.

Re:Experiment yourself (2)

dryeo (100693) | about 4 months ago | (#46610911)

Ravens are known for stashing food in caches including faking the cache and stealing other ravens stashes. They show quite some smarts in doing it and remembering as well.
What has always amazed me is how much intelligence can be crammed into that bird brain that is smaller then a walnut.

Re:Experiment yourself (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 4 months ago | (#46611853)

Could it be an issue of brain size to body mass instead of brain size alone?

Re:Experiment yourself (1)

mikael (484) | about 4 months ago | (#46613141)

Brain size is larger than the theoretical size given the body mass. But most of the brain is used to manage body function with only a small area doing the actual logical thinking and planning. That's larger that the theoretical size. So they must have some logic there to handle the concepts of tubes, tunnels, sticks, pebbles. Given that they feed on insects and just about anything else that lives in trees, they'd have evolved to figure out out to get them out of holes in trees.

Re:Experiment yourself (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 4 months ago | (#46615453)

Crows (and Ravens) don't spend much time in trees looking for food, mostly nuts and they use cars to break the shell, showing understanding of the intersection rules, safe on red. They are omnivores and seem to eat anything. They've also adapted very well to city life and love McDonalds so not that smart.

Re:Experiment yourself (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about 4 months ago | (#46620287)

Their memory of human faces is pretty amazing also. If a scientist or other person takes baby crows from a nest, the other crows nearby will squawk like crazy at them. If those same crows see that person again they will scream like crazy again and any new crows around will learn this humans face also and squawk any time they see them. It can get so bad that no matter where you go a crow will recognize you and start harassing you.

Not sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610639)

I'm not sure I cudda figured that all out myself.

projecting human thinking (0)

globaljustin (574257) | about 4 months ago | (#46610657)

these tasks did not test insightful problem solving, but were directed at the birds' understanding of volume displacement

Crows don't "understand" water displacement. They only sense and react. "understanding" requires abstraction.

This is great research so I don't want to seem hypercritical but in their contextualization of the mental processes of the Crow they are projecting what ***humans*** would be thinking when they solve the problem.

Crows see cause/effect. Drop stone, thing gets closer. They sense that the thing is closer so just repeat what they did.

This fits with the observations that the two tasks requiring abstract thinking did not work

they failed two more challenging tasks, one that required understanding of the width of the tube, and one that required understanding of counterintuitive cues for a U-shaped displacement task.

Why is this so important? Am I nitpicking just the language? This goes to the core of computing and our understanding of "intelligence" and especially **Artificial Intelligence**

We spend ****BILLIONS***** trying to make computers "think"....but it's not possible...we're projecting our mental processes on what we observe.

Just because we observe *externally* that the crow is solving a problem the way a human would, doesn't mean *internally* they are doing the actions for the same reasons.

Re:projecting human thinking (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46610699)

Crows don't "understand" water displacement.

How do you know they don't?

Crows see cause/effect.

Why did any of the crows drop a stone into the water in the first place? Why did they go for water over sand?

On the other side of the argument, what did their "brief training period" comprise?

The problem here is that we're working with four paragraphs. That's precious little to come up with any definitive statement - let alone ones which contradict the - by their own admission, cautious (the article is peppered with "may"s)- conclusion of the study.

Occam's razor via gchat (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 4 months ago | (#46610817)

How do you know they don't?

I dont have the burden of proof, b/c it's not my research. The scientists are claiming they **DO**...that means the definition and concept of "understanding" certainly comes into play.

Why did any of the crows drop a stone into the water in the first place? Why did they go for water over sand?

They had free choice to drop in any of them. They dropped stones in multiple containters.

When they dropped and saw they thing get closer they repeated!

It's simple cause/effect and memory...why is this a controversial statement?

Oh yeah, b/c these researchers used the Artificial Intelligence definitions of "understanding"...

Re:Occam's razor via gchat (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46611027)

I dont have the burden of proof, b/c it's not my research.

I'm not saying you wouldn't be correct to assume that they don't have the understanding until it's proven otherwise - which this study is by no means definitively claiming to have done - but you said "Crows don't "understand" water displacement," which sounds like a definitive statement of fact.

The scientists are claiming they **DO**

Nope. They're only claiming that they may.

It's simple cause/effect and memory...why is this a controversial statement?

What evidence is there that it's any truer than the alternative? The scientists who've spent time and effort investigating certainly seem to believe there's room for doubt, if nothing else.

Re:Occam's razor via gchat (4, Interesting)

dryeo (100693) | about 4 months ago | (#46611035)

There are better studies that show crows having understanding. Things like using a short tool to get a medium tool to get the long tool to reach the unreachable. Fashioning the correct tool from a piece of wire. Or in one case studying the situation for close to 2 minutes before flawlessly completing all the steps required to reach the unreachable, without any training.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

look @ Bowerbird nests & define "understanding (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 4 months ago | (#46611447)

is it complex innate behavior that evolved or "understanding"?

what is the difference?

Look at the elaborate nests of the Bowerbird: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.... [nationalgeographic.com]

Does that bird "understand" structural physics & bird mating behavior and "choose" based on its "understanding"?

No. According to this study: http://www.sciencedirect.com/s... [sciencedirect.com]

That study and many like it examine **instinct** as the mechanism for this behavior...they do not **in any way** examine bird behavior in terms of "understanding"

So until I have a definition of "understanding" that is mutually exclusive of instinct & other well understood animal behaviors...and relates that to the human concept of "understanding" this research is claiming something that is not supported by evidence.

Re:look @ Bowerbird nests & define "understand (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 4 months ago | (#46612857)

is it complex innate behavior that evolved or "understanding"?

what is the difference?

Understanding takes some thought whereas instinctive evolved behaviour does not take thought. The Bowerbird builds an elaborate nest because it feels right and it is easy to understand how that may have evolved, females that are attracted to elaborate nests and males that though small mutations and genetic recombining that make more elaborate nests having more breeding success.
Needing to get something out of reach and having to improvise by bending a wire or studying a situation until understanding a series of steps will get something out of reach seem harder to have simply evolved as pure instincts. Instinct might partially come into it but coming up with novel tools and using them would include some understanding.
People are the same, some instinctive tool usage built into us and then innovating through understanding tools to the point where I'm typing on a computer to communicate with you.

Some people need to feel special in relationship to other animals while the truth is that we are an animal and operate with a mixture of instincts and understanding and other animals can be similar though we do seem to do the understanding part better.

tautology (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 4 months ago | (#46613673)

Understanding takes some thought whereas instinctive evolved behaviour does not take thought.

That's a tautology.

**NOW** everything hinges on your definition of "thought"

What is "thought" in your nomenclature?

How does "thought" differ from "understanding"?

Are you the first one to make this distinction?

I don't want/expect an actual answer. I'm asking to point out the ridiculousness of the statement.

Still waiting for some actual discussion.

Re:tautology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613809)

Animals have some understanding of cause and effect. They apply a cause of using a small tool to reach a larger tool and the larger tool gets them the food they want. This implies a level of memory, and imagination to connect cause and effects together to consciously achieve the desired outcome.

"imagination" tautology (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 4 months ago | (#46616159)

here we go again

"intelligence"->"thought"->"imagination"->X

same problem, AC...you just inserted a new word into the space

define "imagination" in a way that is consistent and usable for scientific research & comparison!

the problem is, you're trying to use the same words for **human mental processes** as your are for animal behavior

superficially they are similar, but only superficially...this whole thread boils down to that premise: these researchers (and AI researchers) are projecting human behavoir onto significantly less complex behavior

it is only **superficially** similar!

Re: projecting human thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46610769)

Eh, sounds like the crows are smarter than you. If you watch anamals closely you'd notice that many species do amazing things. Observing this behavoir, by an adult, requires pay and funding. I think it's legit work. People that dedicate huge time and effort into understanding our would better, no matter how stupid, the science seems to some is worthly of getting paid to do so. Not everything need necessarily be a stock market economic trade to be worthwhile. Get a life man.

Re:projecting human thinking (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 months ago | (#46613885)

Crows see cause/effect. Drop stone, thing gets closer. They sense that the thing is closer so just repeat what they did.

What makes you believe that your own "abstract reasoning" actually operates any differently?

Re:projecting human thinking (1)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#46623127)

I think his mindset is called 'human chauvinism', humans are special, the only thinking species. Insight and conscious thought separates us from the beasts. According to that world view all non-human animals, generally including primates, operate exclusively by instinct and have no deeper insight into the world around them. It used to be popular among academics in the early and mid-20th century, but as more people with real-world experience (such as people who had grown up as farmers or breeders rather than social elites) entered the upper echelons of science that viewpoint has been eroded by a series of discoveries and experiments that show it as invalid and obsolete thinking. Mostly I still see that among religious people who believe us to be created "in god's image", and so somehow superior to all the other animals. Would be surprised to see him promoting creationist ideas as well, although I didn't bother to check his posting history.

Re:projecting human thinking (1)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#46623509)

Meant "wouldn't" rather than "would" in that last sentence.

Re:projecting human thinking (1)

cwsumner (1303261) | about 4 months ago | (#46627169)

... Crows don't "understand" water displacement. They only sense and react. "understanding" requires abstraction.

This is great research so I don't want to seem hypercritical but in their contextualization of the mental processes of the Crow they are projecting what ***humans*** would be thinking when they solve the problem.

Crows see cause/effect. Drop stone, thing gets closer. They sense that the thing is closer so just repeat what they did. ...

That might be true, but it also could describe most people, incuding the scientists !

Crows are smart (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 4 months ago | (#46610661)

Reminds me somewhat of this [www.josh.is] project, which trains crows to trade objects (coins, in this implementation) for food. I've been meaning to build something similar at some point. :-)

I haven't decided what to get them to do for the food. Cash isn't used much here, so they'll have a hard time finding quarters. I was thinking pop or beer bottle lids, or something similar to that, would be good. That way they trade an abundant trash source for food, and clean up at the same time.

Though I suppose it could lead to the unintended effect of them getting into dumpsters to cheat the system, if they're smart enough...

I think ravens are supposed to be even more intelligent?

Re:Crows are smart (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46610967)

I wish I could remember more details, but there was actually a project a while back that did just that: IIRC they put out a "vending machine" that traded peanuts I think it was for trash, and trained a couple crows to use it - before long they had much of the local crow population happily cleaning up the grounds for peanuts.

Re:Crows are smart (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about 4 months ago | (#46611559)

I was going to try that myself, I want to train them to pick the buds off my neighbors' pot plants and reward them for it.

Re:Crows are smart (1)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#46623145)

I've been told that tame crows like to get stoned, so they might find themselves a heat source instead . . .

Re:Crows are smart (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#46611171)

"I think ravens are supposed to be even more intelligent?"

Nevermore.

They tried it with Kia-Ora instead of water... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46610707)

...but it's too orangey for crows.

"understanding" (1)

frnic (98517) | about 4 months ago | (#46610773)

There is no evidence of "understanding". They simply learned a behavior.

Re:"understanding" (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46611001)

It would admittedly depend on just how much training was done beforehand, but the examples with cylinders of different diameters or water levels would suggest at least a rudimentary understanding of the principles in play. As would the discarding of light and hollow objects when selecting what to drop into the water.

Re:"understanding" (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46611075)

The article is four paragraphs long, with an un-narrated video. That's hardly enough on which to base your conclusion.

And the experimenters themselves have only gone as far as to say these results "may" be in favour of the alternative.

I knew they weren't scientists (1)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | about 4 months ago | (#46610819)

heavy objects sink in water

I will say an aircraft carrier is very heavy - but floats on water, what the authors meant to say was Dense objects sink in water, as even light grains of sand sink to the bottom.
You can thank the college of Phycology for the misunderstanding - when you read something like that in the first paragraph of the paper, makes me doubt anything else they have to say.

Re:I knew they weren't scientists (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#46613939)

Let's get duelling with pedantary!

Blah blah dense blah.

However, there were only a limited range of sizes available: too big and it wouldn't fit in the tube, too small and it would be useless because not enough fluid would be displaced to make a difference.

Given the small size range, heavy/light works perfectly well.

Plus it's common language and *everyone* knows what was meant.

Crow behavior (1)

crow (16139) | about 4 months ago | (#46610869)

I remember in grad school, there was a crow that was often on a branch above the path to the computer science building. After walking past it, he would fly down next to me and screech loudly right when he was next to me, then circle back and cackle after landing on his branch. He apparently enjoyed the reactions he got by startling people.

Birds are very smart. Another reason to be afraid of dinosaurs, I suppose.

Re:Crow behavior (1, Interesting)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 4 months ago | (#46610909)

On a morning when the Nazis had a mass killing of concentration camp victims, Goring remarked on the mass gathering of crows and other birds, amassed along wires and roofs. There were tens of thousands of the birds assembled, but only on the days when many people were to be exterminated, and this unsettled Goring. Perhaps there is more to our avian and animal friends than meets the eye?

Re:Crow behavior (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#46611205)

Indeed, causation requires correlation. Clearly they were the ones pulling the strings.

Plausible deniability does not eliminate undeniable plausibility.

Re:Crow behavior (1)

deadweight (681827) | about 4 months ago | (#46611511)

The crows were not CAUSING the Nazi behaviour, but apparently they learned the schedules or otherwise picked up a clue as to when food was about to be on the table and when it wasn't. Speaking of food on the table, crows live near where we like to eat lunch outside, When they see usm they send once crow over to watch. If we leave the food unattended the one spy crow gets the rest and they eat it and throw our stuff around.

Re:Crow behavior (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 4 months ago | (#46611615)

That would easily explain it, the bodies were always dumped into pits left open for days or longer. Lots of available 'food' left out for the taking. (shudder!)

Re:Crow behavior (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 4 months ago | (#46611677)

Birds are very smart. Another reason to be afraid of dinosaurs, I suppose.

As a programmer, I always remember that Velociraptors dislike goto [xkcd.com] statements.

This is rather old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46611181)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbVIBzvmNqM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUDpCwklTSQ

Yeah. Old Crows, especially. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46611691)

They do things computer whores mostly can't imagine.

007 Crow showing how to solve 8 stage puzzle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46611937)

It is amazing that the crow can solve an 8 stage puzzle in this recent program shown on BBC "Inside the Animal Mind"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVaITA7eBZE

I for one (1)

lolococo (574827) | about 4 months ago | (#46613927)

welcome our new crow overlords

and after filling the container... (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 4 months ago | (#46614823)

The crow shrieked "Corn! Corn! Corn!" until the researcher, one J. Snow, Wall Cmdr, tossed some corn its way.

I Knew They Were Smart (1)

Toad-san (64810) | about 4 months ago | (#46615097)

but not THAT smart!

I always knew they could count to three. However other birds may be better at counting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

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