Study Finds That 4-Month-Old Ravens Are as Intelligent as Adult Apes

Ravens are among the smartest birds, and studies have shown that they are very sharp-minded and can learn new things extremely fast. They have also fascinated artists since the beginning of time and Edgar Allen Poe even dedicated a poem to them called, The Raven.

The most commonly known fact about ravens is that they collect objects which then they use as tools and a new study published by Scientific Reports revealed something truly amazing.

Studies have been conducted on the cognitive functions of ravens and conclusions suggest that 4-month-old ravens can perform similar cognitive tests to adult gorillas or orangutans. The study was led by Simone Pika from Osnabrück Research Group for Comparative BioCognition (CBC) and 8 ravens have been monitored over months to conclude the results.

The test used to evaluate the ravens is an adaptation of the Primate Cognition Test Battery (PCTB), and in this version, the birds are required to use their beaks to perform the tasks. The test aimed to observe whether ravens are aware of space, possess communication and learning abilities, and can perceive object permanence. The study followed the development of the birds from 4, 8, 12, and 16 months and by the time the ravens reached 4 months, they already had similar cognitive abilities as adult primates.
The study is still ongoing and there are many more data to be analyzed, but the team of researchers is looking to prove that many skills might be species-specific and not human-specific.

In this task, we tested whether ravens understand that objects can change their locations. A reward was placed under one of three cups, and then the tray was rotated 180° in clockwise direction.

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