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Challenge shows the innovative behavior of parrots and crows

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Posted on 11th July 2011 by Judy Breck in Animals, Emerging Online Knowledge and Open Content

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A Public Library of Science (PLoS) One article describes challenging birds in the boxes shown above. Titled “Flexibility in Problem Solving and Tool Use of Kea and New Caledonian Crows in a Multi Access Box Paradigm,” the article is an example of the excellence of science outside of the garden walls of online journals that cling to the paywalled, print past.

PLoS One “is an interactive open-access journal for the communication of all peer-reviewed scientific and medical research.” Articles like the one on the parrots and crows are both excellent sources for the knowledge conveyed, and provide outstanding models for students of scientific investigation and writing. The abstract for the article featured in this post begins:

Parrots and corvids show outstanding innovative and flexible behaviour. In particular, kea and New Caledonian crows are often singled out as being exceptionally sophisticated in physical cognition, so that comparing them in this respect is particularly interesting. However, comparing cognitive mechanisms among species requires consideration of non-cognitive behavioural propensities and morphological characteristics evolved from different ancestry and adapted to fit different ecological niches. . . .