Rooks prove Aesop's Fable
Linkedin

Rooks prove Aesop's Fable

Cambridge : United Kingdom | Aug 07, 2009 at 11:24 AM PDT
XX XX
Views: Pending
 

Everyone has heard the story of about thirsty crow that can't reach the water at the bottom of a bucket. Instead of tipping out the water, the bird collects rocks and drops them in the bucket, slowly raising the water level until it's high enough to drink. It's a good fable and it demonstrates the necessity of innovation, but it always seemed just a bit too clever to be based in reality. As it turns out, the crow might very well have been a rook and the fable may be based entirely on fact.

Dr Nathan Emery and his team at the University of Cambridge presented four rooks with the problem from the fable. They left a floating worm in a glass of water too low for the birds to reach. They also gave the birds a small pile of rocks and watched the birds select the largest rocks and drop them in the glass to displace the most water. Of the four birds tested, two solved the puzzle immediately, while the other two were able to do it on their second try (though it doesn't say how they failed the first time around).

According to Dr. Emery, rooks no longer surprise him with their problem solving because over the last few years he has seem them make some astonishingly clever decisions when faced with complex tasks. They rival orangutans in their ability to use tools and solve physical problems. Corvids, the group of birds to which rooks belong, are known to use tools in the wild to extract grubs from logs, much the way monkeys are known to do. It's just good to know that being clever and innovative crosses species lines as a tactic toward getting what we want.

MrOrange is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is a Stringer for Allvoices.
Report Credibility
 
  • Clear
  • Share:
  • Share
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
 
 
 
Advertisement
 

News Stories

 

Blogs

 >
  • Confirming Aesop - rooks use stones to raise the level of water in ...

      scienceblogs.com
    Aesop's fable "The Crow and the Pitcher" has been confirmed in a wonderful experiment. In the classic tale, a thirsty crow uses stones to raise the level of water in a pitcher until it rises within reach of its beak. ... The true test of that
  • 3quarksdaily

      www.3quarksdaily.com
    "I had always wanted to see if there was a way to test what the crow did in Aesop's fable," explains Nathan Emery, a comparative psychologist at Queen Mary, University of London. But he and his graduate student, ... In previous experiments, the two
  • NIGERIA BLOG, FREE INTERNET, MARKETING, WEB HOSTING, DESIGN ...

      www.nigerianbestforum.com
    Clever rooks repeat ancient fable. By Rebecca Morelle. Aesop's rook: The birds raise the water by dropping stones into a tube so they can reach a floating worm. One of Aesop's fables may have been based on fact, scientists report. ... Dr Nathan Emery,
  • Aesop Was Right! Birds Use Rocks to Raise Water Level | 80beats ...

      blogs.discovermagazine.com
    Living World | A quartet of clever rooks have provided evidence that one of Aesop's fables could have a basis in fact. The tale in question tells the story of a thirsty crow. ... Emery says the new study “suggests that they can not only think through

More From Allvoices

Report Your News Got a similar story?
Add it to the network!

Or add related content to this report



Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy.

© Allvoices, Inc. 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Powered by PulsePoint.