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Big-hearted corvids


PhysOrg
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Ravens, crows, magpies and their relatives are known for their exceptional intelligence, which allows them to solve complex problems, use tools or outsmart their conspecifics. One capability, however, that we humans value highly, seems to be missing from their behavioral repertoire: generosity. Only very few species within the crow family have so far been found to act generously in experimental paradigms, while the highly intelligent ravens, for example, have demonstrated their egoistic tendencies in multiple studies. Lisa Horn of the of the Department of Behavioral and Cognitive Biology of the University of Vienna can now demonstrate, together with Jorg Massen of Utrecht University and an international team of researchers, that the social life of corvids is a crucial factor for whether the birds benefit their group members or not.

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