Saturday, May 10, 2008

Surreal Saturday: Brilliant Crows (Serious Play)

Josh Klein, the Principal Technologist for Frog Design, spoke at the Serious Play Conference on Friday about his work with crows. Crows are apparently quite bright and live wherever humans live. Klein showed the video below as part of his presentation. He prefaced the video by saying that the crow had been taught to use a piece of wire to spear a grub in the bottom of the glass tube in the video. He said the researcher then put the grub out of reach of the crow (either by shortening the wire or by lengthening the tube; Klein did not say which). Watch what happens next:

Apparently the crows will then teach this trick to their young. Klein also indicated that crows have enormously long memories. He told the story of a bunch of crows who were fooled by some experimenters on a campus one day. The next days the crows recognized the experimenters and set up a ruckus when they saw them coming. The crows kept this up for four full years until all of the researchers had graduated. Now, experimenters wear masks so that they won't get taunted by crows.

For more crow weirdness/goodness you'll have to go here. For me, I am off to put in my IARPA grant paperwork...

No comments: