Bird-Brained Toolmakers

on November 4, 2006

LiveScience: Tool Time: Crows Share Tricks of the Trade

Have you ever heard anyone try to support evolutionism by explaining that apes (especially chimpanzees), like humans, use tools and pass the behavior on to new generations? This is true-chimpanzees use tools and pass on tool-use techniques to the next generation (those clever apes!). The problem for evolutionists is that crows do this, too.

Crows, considered one of the most intelligent animals (called “the MacGyvers of the avian world” in this article), have long been known to use tools. As the article explains:

Compared to other crows, those from the Pacific island of New Caledonia … are master tool makers and users, second only to humans and on level with chimps when it comes to finding novel uses for everyday objects.


Scientists have found that crows living on different parts of the island display variations in tool shapes, a discovery that suggests young crows learn to fashion tools in a particular way from relatives and other crows living nearby. If so, it would mean the birds possess a culture of tool technology on par with that of humans.

Scientists determined experimentally that crows can learn to use tools to some extent.

Scientists determined experimentally that crows can learn to use tools to some extent. Two crows were taught tool-use by humans, and were then quicker at using the tools themselves than were crows who were left to their own devices (pardon the pun).

In related news this week, three elephants were shown to be able to recognize themselves in a mirror, a behavior previously exhibited only by humans, great apes, and dolphins (to some extent). One elephant, Happy, was even able to pass the “mark test,” in which a mark (in this case, a white X) is surreptitiously placed on a part of the animal's body only visible in the mirror. If the animal is truly self-aware (so the theory goes), then it will investigate the strange mark by touching its own body instead of touching its appearance in the mirror. This shows that the animal not only recognizes that the animal in the mirror is behaving identically to itself, but that it actually is itself.

So anytime you hear evolutionists proclaiming ape-human behavioral similarity as a sign of common ancestry, mention these clever crows and self-aware elephants, which disrupt the picture evolutionists paint of chimps (and other apes) as uniquely showing human behaviors.

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