Review

The Mentality of Crows: Convergent Evolution of Intelligence in Corvids and Apes

Science  10 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5703, pp. 1903-1907
DOI: 10.1126/science.1098410

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Abstract

Discussions of the evolution of intelligence have focused on monkeys and apes because of their close evolutionary relationship to humans. Other large-brained social animals, such as corvids, also understand their physical and social worlds. Here we review recent studies of tool manufacture, mental time travel, and social cognition in corvids, and suggest that complex cognition depends on a “tool kit” consisting of causal reasoning, flexibility, imagination, and prospection. Because corvids and apes share these cognitive tools, we argue that complex cognitive abilities evolved multiple times in distantly related species with vastly different brain structures in order to solve similar socioecological problems.

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