This, of course, is not about planning in the air, and the ability to look ahead and plan their own actions – as it turned out, the ability to plan is not only the higher primates but also in birds.


Raven. (Photo: Christian Varga / Flickr.com.)

The ability to plan their daily actions and, more broadly, his life is a sign of highly developed intelligence, and say that all people have the ability to plan, though not all use it.

And until recently it was believed that only people have this ability is. On the other hand, we all know that some birds (e.g., jays) are doing the food, that is, they anticipate that in the future food may become tight, and therefore need to do something now – what is that if not planning?

However, there is one serious objection: this behavior can be tied to food – in other words, nothing but stocks, birds can’t plan for, and planning in a General sense, they do not own . That is, we need an experiment in which the ability to “look ahead” would appear in an unfamiliar situation and demanded non-standard operations.

Researchers from Lund University is an experiment and put. Subjects were the ordinary ravens, who were taught to open the stone box with the food. Stone, however, could be exchanged for a token (in the form of plastic bottle caps), and for a badge it was possible to treat better.

Common ravens not too often use the tools, and they do not tend to exchange something for something, as, for example, do the blue jays, and crows. However, the ravens have mastered everything you need, and the use of stone as a tool, and sharing – they could, taking the stone, not to open with it, the box, and give it away for absolutely “noinstrumentation” plastic lid in the calculation of the greater benefits.

Then the rules of the game began to change: for example, before the first birds appeared stone-opener, and then, after some time, the box had to be open. However, the ravens still took a stone and waited, when there will be a box. In another embodiment, together with the stone appeared ready portion of food, which, however, was less than what’s in the box. The box was delayed with the advent, and, as the authors work in Science, birds in 75% of cases chose the stone, meaning to reach a larger portion of food, and were willing to wait box for 15 minutes.

Generally speaking, this is a so-called deferred benefits, about which we repeatedly wrote. The ability to disregard the smaller benefits that can be obtained immediately, for the sake that you want to wait, there are also apes, and among birds a similar experiment with cockatoos and crows. However, just to address the “bird experiments” were put forward objections that they are too simple and it is impossible to judge about the General ability of birds to glide.

This time with the ravens tried to do everything so that planning is possible complicate staging birds very precarious situation. And here we see that the crows are not only able to control yourself in anticipation of a big portion of food, but they are also able to remember what item can be used as a tool, and understand that his instrumental properties may be needed, if not now then in the future.

However, some zoologists were not fully satisfied with the findings. For example, Jonathan Redshaw (Jonathan Redshaw) from the University of Queensland believes that in this case the ravens just remember that what has caused, and reproduced the best chain of action.

In true planning, the individual can adjust their actions to changing conditions, and had, say, at some point, show the crows a broken box of food: if birds, seeing the broken food source, would stop to take a stone-opener, it really would indicate the ability to plan. However, it is possible that here the problem is not so much about crows, but in the fact that we understand by planning.