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Birds Make Nest Eggs

on February 24, 2007
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[email protected]: “Scrub-jays look ahead

A new discovery highlighting bird intelligence, reported in Nature this week, further upsets evolutionary implications that elevate the intelligence of chimps and other primates (see item #1, for instance). Wild scrub-jays in a University of Cambridge lab have shown, for the first time, that birds have some idea of the future and can plan ahead accordingly. The [email protected] article explains:

Birds have some idea of the future and can plan ahead accordingly.

The birds were put in cages that were divided into three parts. In the evening they were kept in the middle section, and fed powdered pine nuts that they couldn't store. In the morning, they were kept either in the ‘breakfast room’, where they were given food, or went hungry in the ‘no-breakfast room’.

After getting used to this set-up, the jays were given whole pine nuts in the evening, which they could bury in trays of sand. The jays put three times as many in the no-breakfast room than in the breakfast room, so that they wouldn't go hungry in the morning.

In another experiment, the jays got breakfast in both rooms. However, their breakfast comprised whole peanuts in one room, and dried dog food in the other. When given both foods in the evening, the birds stored each food in the room where it would be lacking the next morning.

The research, conducted by Nicola Clayton and colleagues at Cambridge, marks the first time any species other than humans has been observed to behave in such a way to indicate their awareness of time and, specifically, of the future. Research by Clayton in 2001 showed that jays that steal from peers hide their own food more carefully.

Every time an evolutionist attempts to isolate humans and apes as exclusive “intelligent animals” (and therefore imply ape intelligence confirms evolution), remember the uncanny intelligence of birds-and perhaps remind the evolutionist, too!


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