How the crows embraced democracy

“Monsters of Science” is like a collection of stories. Beautiful tales told to live in all their freshness. But also in all its complexities. Arch to marvel at the treasures of the world. In this new episode, let’s take a look again at this bird that feeds many fantasies: the crow.

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[EN VIDÉO] Crows are as smart as great apes
They have much smaller brains and yet crows have been shown to be as smart as great apes. Several studies confirm this. These amazing birds show adaptability and personality. Something to question the processes of development of cognitive abilities. How can different brains such as the crow and the great ape be combined at one point in time? This is the question asked by researchers at Lund University (Sweden) (in English) © Lund University

the crow. It is one of many members of the large family of corvids. Crow in short. But a crow is rather special. Seeing it first. so is amazing blue eyes Clear. Through his social behavior then. Raven is actually monogamous. loyal all his life. Fifteen years on average. And pairs formed live in gangs. In colonies it can reach a hundred individuals.

Colonies that seem to have adopted a certain form… of bird piracy! based on operations Decision making that overcome individual differences. To reach some kind of consensus “democratic”. It’s not really new. Remember, in the first episode of science monstersWe found out how a lycaon expresses its voice when sneezing. Other groups of animals do this. in their own way. But in general, within the groups are rather limited in number. Or even just family groups.

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Among the crows, “birds” exercise in large groups. It consists of animals of different ages, sexes, families and even colonies. As long as all of these individuals remained within the screaming range. The researchers noticed this when they woke up. at sunrise Sunin winter, whenair It is still cold and the environment is dark. Groups of hundreds of crows coordinate to fly all at once. despite their differences. Perhaps because staying in a group has its advantages. For many, the risk of predation is divided. The chances of finding food are multiplied.

Cries for the starting signal

Jackdaws live all over Europe – North Africa and Asia too – but they are found in the UK researchers They have witnessed the round of democratic fun that hides behind the apparent dissonance emanating from these funny crows. During the long winter months, they not only watched her intently, but also listened to her. And this is how they noticed that sometimes the crow takes off from its place “Night Hideout” In small groups about twenty minutes apart, they often leave Mass. With up to 1500 birds flying 4 seconds apart.

What gives a little splash are the cries of crows. Screams intensified in the hour before takeoff. But who can calm down if the rain happened and delayed the take-off of the group. As if these calls had provided large groups of crows with a means to reach consensus for a coherent mass departure from their places. Consensus is reached when the intensity of the screams exceeds a certain threshold.

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When the group can’t come to an agreement, and when the intensity of the cries doesn’t reach a critical level, the take-off ends up being even more turbulent. Then the crow takes off in drops and splashes. They are supposed to follow the collective decision of the colony to which they belong. Another proof that the crow… is not that stupid!

And perhaps also a sign that we should beware sound pollution Nature in general and animals in particular. This may affect their ability to communicate and make consensual decisions important for their survival.

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