Because it’s so easy to get caught up in the daily tedium of mankind, the animal kingdom can be a very mysterious thing to us. Although we know that animals have feelings and preferences like we do, it’s hard to understand how conscious they are and what kinds of things they might be thinking. Whenever we get insight into their inner worlds, we tend to be fascinated. Above all, there’s no doubt that animals are intelligent.
For a prime example of this, we only need to look at crows.
For the most part, crows don’t hold much of a place of recognition in our culture.
If anything, crows are known for being scary birds or for representing death—after all, they don’t call it a murder of crows for nothing. But what most people don’t know, however, is that crows are some of the smartest animals on the planet. As one viral tumblr post explained, they’re so smart that it starts to make them a little bit scary:
Still, crows also have a softer side—a side that was shown in a recently viral video clip.
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Posted by This is the best thing I've seen in at least 6 or 7 minutes on Tuesday, July 31, 2018
The clip was posted on Facebook and now has nearly six million views—and it’s not difficult to see why.
As it turns out, though, this isn’t the only example out there of crows doing unexpected and complex intellectual tasks. When it comes to intelligence that’s closest to human intelligence, we tend to think of apes as being the only animals that have a society like ours and solve hard problems like we do. Still, other clips of crows show them taking bold risks—like asking people for help getting water!
Though it’s clear that crows are smart for birds, how smart are they?
After all, being a very smart bird is a relative claim if we’re talking about animal intelligence as a whole. While some research has established that crows can solve complex problems, it’s a little bit trickier than we may be led to think. As it turns out, there are some limits to their problem solving abilities.
As the New York Times argues, more research is needed.
Above everything else though, seeing crows behave in altruistic ways as well as solving complicated problems changes the way we think about the world. When we take a scientific approach to our minds and to the animals around us, a very cynical portrait of the world begins to emerge. On some level, we think that we’re only interested in what’s best for ourselves and not necessarily what’s best for the other beings around us. Moreover, if humans aren’t capable of this kind of pure, moral thought for other beings, then certainly animals aren’t capable of it either, right?
If nothing else, the first video shows that those assumptions are wrong.
While the crow in the video could’ve easily killed and eaten the mouse, he knew the creature wasn’t a threat and decided to feed him as well. By doing this, he was able to help another creature for no personal gain. That is, unless the crow knew that by feeding the mouse now he might gain its trust and then eat a plumper, more delicious and easier-to-hunt mouse in the future… on second thought, maybe we should still be afraid of crows!
All jokes aside, this clip shows just how complex and beautiful the animal kingdom really is.
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