Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Aliens & UFO's

Could crows hold the secret to understanding ALIENS?

Could crows hold the secret to understanding ALIENS? 1

By Sam Webb

Scientists have long suspected that corvids – the family of birds including ravens, crows and magpies – are highly intelligent.

Now, neurobiologists have demonstrated how the brains of crows produce intelligent behavior when the birds have to make strategic decisions, the same as humans, despite our lack of a common ancestor.

The research could give us an insight into the workings of the mind of a non-mammalian – including extraterrestrial life forms.

Lena Veit and Professor Andreas Nieder, from Tubingen University in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, have published a study in Nature Communications that provides valuable and exciting insights into the parallel evolution of intelligent behaviour.

‘Many functions are realised differently in birds because a long evolutionary history separates us from these direct descendants of the dinosaurs,’ sais Ms Veit.

‘This means that bird brains can show us an alternative solution out of how intelligent behaviour is produced with a different anatomy.’

Crows and primates have different brains, but the cells regulating decision-making are very similar. They represent a general principle which has re-emerged throughout the history of evolution.

Not alone? Because crows are non-mammalian, their thought processes give us an insight into the thought processes of other speciesNot alone? Because crows are non-mammalian, their thought processes give us an insight into the thought processes of other species

‘Just as we can draw valid conclusions on aerodynamics from a comparison of the very differently constructed wings of birds and bats, here we are able to draw conclusions about how the brain works by investigating the functional similarities and differences of the relevant brain areas in avian and mammalian brains,’ says Professor Andreas Nieder.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Far from being ‘bird-brains’, crows are so smart behavioral biologists have even called them ‘feathered primates’ because the birds make and use tools, are able to remember large numbers of feeding sites, and plan their social behavior according to what other members of their group do.

This high level of intelligence might seem surprising because birds’ brains are constructed in a fundamentally different way from those of mammals, including primates – which are usually used to investigate these behaviors.

The Tubingen researchers are the first to investigate the brain physiology of crows’ intelligent behavior. They trained crows to carry out memory tests on a computer.

The crows were shown an image and had to remember it. Shortly afterwards, they had to select one of two test images on a touchscreen with their beaks based on a switching behavioral rules.


They use tools

Crows have been observed using cars as nutcrackers. They drop the nuts into the road and when they are smashed open dive in to eat.

They talk to each other

scientists debate whether or not crows actually have what we call a language, but they do communicate at an advanced level.

They have incredible memories

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Crows have been known to change their entire migration pattern to avoid farms where even a single crow has been killed in the past. Generations upon generations later, they still remember specific houses where one measly bird has died.

Crows can remember faces 

Scientists in Seattle did an experiment where they tagged crows and released them while wearing masks. The birds became angry when they saw thwe researchers in masks, but left them alone when they were removed.


One of the test images was identical to the first image, the other different. Sometimes the rule of the game was to select the same image, and sometimes it was to select the different one.

The crows were able to carry out both tasks and to switch between them as appropriate.

That demonstrates a high level of concentration and mental flexibility which few animal species can manage – and which is an effort even for humans.

The crows were quickly able to carry out these tasks even when given new sets of images. The researchers observed neuronal activity in the nidopallium caudolaterale, a brain region associated with the highest levels of cognition in birds.

One group of nerve cells responded exclusively when the crows had to choose the same image – while another group of cells always responded when they were operating on the ‘different image’ rule.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

By observing this cell activity, the researchers were often able to predict which rule the crow was following even before it made its choice.



You May Also Like

Bizzare & Odd

A unique find in the Russian Far East, and more specifically in Yakutia, was found by miners working at the Elginsky coal mine. They...

Aliens & UFO's

In 2020, the US Department of Defense announced the creation of a special unit in the Pentagon to investigate UFO-related situations. A reasonable question: the...


What connects aliens to the Scottish lake monster? And why did many eyewitnesses say that a mysterious force prevented them from taking photos or...

Science & Technology

For most of human history, people have become smarter. But now the opposite is true. If in the past the average IQ score increased, now everything...

Metaphysics & Psychology

By John Vibes / Truth Theory Are you a fan of dark humor? If so, research has shown that you might be more intelligent on...

Aliens & UFO's

Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Piotr Drabik Walesa’s comments are rather surprising.  In a recent speech, Lech Walesa made some rather ‘out there’ comments...

Aliens & UFO's

There are just over 10,000,000 worlds in this universe with similar humanities to our own, this is but a few races who are or...


We’ve previously discussed the impressive intelligence of crows here on the Grail, from research showing that crows can solve complex sequential puzzles, to video...