The School of Psychology's research on New Caledonian crows' cognition and culture has been widely reported nationally and internationally in the past years. By studying the social structure and behaviour of the crows and the details of their difficult daily lives, the researchers hope to gain new insights into the evolution of intelligence, the interplay between physical and social skillfulness, and the relative importance of each selective force in promoting the need for a big animal brain.
Recent research, led by Dr Alex Taylor, suggests that New Caledonian crows can make inferences about the behaviour of hidden animals in their environment, an ability previously observed only in humans. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and received international media attention.
Read more about this research on the Los Angeles Times website
In January 2011, Professor Russell Gray and Dr Jennifer Holzhaider commented on the background of their research in an article in the New York Times.
Read the full article online on the New York Times website
Results which suggest that crows understand basic physics were covered by national media. When presented with a tall half-filled tube of water, which had a small piece of meat floating on the surface, the crows dropped stones in it to raise the water level to get to the treat.
Read the full article on the Stuff.co.nz website