School of Psychology - Leading psychological science, scholarship and practice


Research news and publications

Latest research news


September 2012

Our new paper on causal reasoning in New Caledonian crows is out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

See a Youtube video of Alex Taylor describing the work

Other media coverage of this paper:

                                                                                                                                  

February 2012

New paper in PLoS One that reports the first detailed study of the genetic structure of the New Caledonian crow over it geographical range. Three distinctly different populations were identified, together with limited effective dispersal on mainland Grande Terre.

Abdelkrim, J., Hunt, G.R., Gray, R.D. and Gemmell, N.J. (2012). Population genetic structure and colonisation history of the tool-using New Caledonian crow. PLoS One 7, e36608. dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036608


New paper in Ethology that describes extremely prolonged parental feeding in New Caledonian crows,
which suggests the possibility that their complex tool skills might have played a role in the evolution of their life history.

Hunt, G.R., Holzhaider, J.C. and Gray, R.D. (2012). Prolonged parental feeding in New Caledonian crows. Ethology 118, 423-430.dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0310.2012.02027.x


New paper in PLoS One that shows New Caledonian crows can process causal information about
novel tool types, not only about their traditional tools that they use in the wild.

Taylor, A.H., Elliffe, D., Hunt, G.R., Emery, N.J., Clayton, N.S and Gray, R.D. (2011). New Caledonian crows learn the functional properties of novel tool types. PLoS One 6, e26887.
dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0026887


Ideacity lecture by Alex Taylor about our New Caledonian crow research.
Visit www.ideacityonline.com/talks/alex-taylor-on-the-clever-crow

Publications


Our previous New Caledonian crow publications

  • Taylor, A.H., Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2011). Context-dependent tool use in New Caledonian crows. Biology Letters 8, 205-207. dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2011.0782
  • Medina, F., Taylor, A.H., Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2011). New Caledonian crows’ responses to mirrors. Animal Behaviour 82, 981-993. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.07.033
  • Holzhaider, J.C., Sibley, M.D., Taylor, A.H., Singh, P.J., Gray, R.D and Hunt, G.R. (2011). The social system of New Caledonian crows. Animal Behaviour 81, 83-92 Read a commentary on this article on the New York Times website  
  • Holzhaider, J.C., Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2010). Social learning in New Caledonian crows. Learning and Behaviour 38, 206-219.
  • Taylor, A.H., Elliffe, D., Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2010). Complex cognition and behavioural innovation in New Caledonian crows. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B 277, 2637-2643.
  • Holzhaider, J.C., Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2010). The development of pandanus tool manufacture in wild New Caledonian crows. Behaviour 147, 553-586.
  • Mehlhorn, J., Hunt, G.R., Gray, R.D., Rehkämper, G. and Güntürkün, O. (2010). Tool-making New Caledonian crows have large associative brain areas. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 75, 63-70.
  • Taylor, A.H., Medina, F., Holzhaider, J.C., Hearne, L., Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2010). An investigation into the cognition behind spontaneous string pulling in New Caledonian crows. Plos One 5, e9345.
  • Taylor, A.H., Roberts, R., Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2009). Causal reasoning in New Caledonian crows: ruling out spatial analogies and sampling error. Communicative and Integrative Biology 2, 311-312.
  • Taylor, A.H., Hunt, G.R., Medina, F.S. and Gray, R.D. (2009). Do New Caledonian crows solve physical problems through causal reasoning? Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B 276, 247-254.
  • Hunt, G.R. (2008). Introduced Lantana camara used as tools by New Caledonian crows. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 35, 115-118.
  • Cnotka, J., Güntürkün, O., Rehkämper, G., Gray, R.D. and Hunt, G.R. (2008). Extraordinary large brains in tool-using New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides). Neuroscience Letters 433, 241-245.
  • Holzhaider, J.C., Hunt, G.R., Campbell, V.M. and Gray, R.D. (2008). Do wild New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) attend to the functional properties of their tools? Animal Cognition 11, 243-254.
  • Hunt, G.R., Abdelkrim, J., Anderson, M.G., Holzhaider, J.C., Marshall, A.J., Gemmell, N. and Gray, R.D. (2007). Innovative pandanus-tool folding by New Caledonian crows. Australian Journal of Zoology 55, 291-298.
  • Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2007). Genetic assimilation of behaviour does not eliminate learning and innovation (Commentary on target article by Ramsey et al., pp. 393-407). Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30, 412-413.
  • Taylor, A.H., Hunt, G.R., Holzhaider, J.C. and Gray, R.D. (2007). Spontaneous metatool use in New Caledonian Crows. Current Biology 17, 1504-1507.
  • Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2007). Parallel tool industries in New Caledonian crows. Biology Letters 3, 173-175.
  • Hunt, G.R., Lambert, C. and Gray, R.D. (2007). Cognitive requirements for tool use by New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 34, 1-7.
  • Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2006). Tool manufacture by New Caledonian crows: chipping away at human uniqueness. Acta Zoologica Sinica (Proceedings of the 23rd International Ornithological Congress). 52 (Suppl.), 622-625.
  • Hunt, G.R., Rutledge, R.B. and Gray, R.D. (2006). The right tool for the job: What strategy do wild New Caledonian crows use? Animal Cognition 9, 307-316.
  • Hunt, G.R., Corballis, M.C. and Gray, R.D. (2006). Design complexity and strength of laterality are correlated in New Caledonian crows’ pandanus tool manufacture. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B. 273, 1127-1133.
  • Hunt, G.R. (2005). Weird and wonderful artefacts. Book review of Animal Architecture by Michael Hansell. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20, 655-656.
  • Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2004). The crafting of hook tools by wild New Caledonian crows. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B (suppl.) 271, S88-S90.
  • Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2004). Direct observations of pandanus-tool manufacture and use by a New Caledonian crow (Corvus moneduloides). Animal Cognition 7, 114-120.
  • Holzhaider, J.C. and Hunt, G.R. (2004). Ruse comme…un corbeau. Pour la Science 324, 46-51. (French version of Scientific American)
  • Rutledge, R. and Hunt, G.R. (2004). Lateralized tool use in wild New Caledonian crows. Animal Behaviour 67, 327-332.
  • Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2003). Diversification and cumulative evolution in tool manufacture by New Caledonian crows. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B 270, 867-874.
  • Hunt, G.R. and Gray, R.D. (2002). Species-wide manufacture of stick-type tools by New Caledonian crows. Emu, 102, 349-353.
  • Hunt, G.R., Sakuma, F. and Shibata, Y. (2002). New Caledonian crows drop candle-nuts onto rock from communally-used forks on branches. Emu 102, 283-290.
  • Hunt, G.R., Corballis, M.C. and Gray, R.D. (2001) Laterality in tool manufacture by crows. Nature 414, 707.
  • Hunt, G.R. (2000) Human-like, population-level specialization in the manufacture of pandanus-tools by New Caledonian crows Corvus moneduloides. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B 267, 403-413.
  • Hunt, G.R. (2000) Tool use by the New Caledonian crow Corvus moneduloides to obtain Cerambycidae from dead wood. Emu 100, 109-114.
  • Hunt, G.R. (1996). Manufacture and use of hook-tools by New Caledonian crows. Nature 379, 249-251.


Selected media items mentioning our research

(a) Magazine, newspaper and internet articles

  • Walker, M. (2010). Clever New Caledonian crows go to parents’ tool school. BBC Earth News Online 26 October.
  • Morelle, R. (2010). Clever New Caledonian crows can use three tools. BBC News Online 21 April.
  • Salleh, A. (2010). Clever crows show innovative behaviour. ABC (Australia) Science News Online 21 April.
  • Editor (2010). In praise of…the New Caledonian crow. Editorial in The Guardian (UK) on 21 April, Main Section p. 36.
  • Anon. (2009). Not your average bird brain. Science illustrated July/August 2009, 70-77.
  • Lefevbre, L. (2008). Petits futé: L’innovation comme signe d’intelligence. Qubec Oiseaux 20, 10-13.
  • Anon. (2007). Des corbeaux dans les écoles. Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes, 11 December.
  • Hancok, C. (2007). Les corbeaux se révélent bricoleurs. Science et Vie, October, p. 26.
  • Randerson, J. (2007). Birds match great apes: New Caledonian crows’ ability to use ‘metatools’ has parallels with early human evolution. The Guardian Weekly 177(31-08-07), 31.
  • Greij, E. (2007). So clever: many birds make and use tools, and what they accomplish with them is amazing. Birder’s World 21, 56-57.
  • Zackowitz, M.G. (2006). One smart bird. National Geographic 209 (April), Wildlife section.
  • Glandt, D. (2006). Geradschnabelkrahen - die werkzeugmacher unter den vogeln. Der Falke 53, 22-26.
  • Collins, S. (2005). Birdbrains are not so stupid. The New Zealand Herald 7/2/2005, p. A11.
  • Simons, P. (2005). Somehing to crow about. BBC Wildlife 23 (September), 40-43.
  • Morin, H. (2005). Le corbeau calédonian, aussi malin que les grands singes. Le Monde 21/1/2005, front page.
  • Milius, S. (2005). Crow tools: hatched to putter. Science News 167, 38.
  • Butvill, D. (2005). The right way? Canadian Wildlife 10, 21-25.
  • Anon. (2004). Des corbeaux latéralizés. Pour la Science 318, April.
  • Anon. (2004). Le corbeau calédonien: "Intello le corbeau". Les Cahiers de l'agriculture et de l'environnement (A Loyalty Islands publication) 10, 17-19.
  • Blackman, S. (2003). New Caledonian crows hone a variety of tools for the job. BBC Wildlife 21 (May), 15.
  • Pickrell, J. (2003). Crows better at tool building than chimps, study says. National Geographic News Online 24/4/2003.
  • Milius, S. (2003). Techno crow: Do birds built up better tool designs? Science News 163, 182.
  • Highfield, R. (2003). Crows can be craftsmen, too. The Daily Telegraph 26 March, 18.
  • Randeson, J. (2003). Brainy crows learn how to upgrade tools. New Scientist 177 (15 March), 15.
  • Fleaux, R. (2002). Cultures, vous avez dit cultures? Sciences et Avenir, June, 64-67. (French science magazine)
  • Fujita, M. (2002). South Pacific crows – how they capture their food. Yomiuri Shimbun, 3 March, p. 5. (Japanese daily newspaper)
  • Anon. (2002). Varis ja norsukin valmistavat tyokaluja. Tiede 28 (February), 11. (Finnish science magazine)
  • Croke, V. (2002). Of birds and their gizmos. Popular Science 260, 38.
  • Pain, S. (2002). Look, no hands! New Scientist 175 (17 August), 44-47.
  • Weir, K. (2002). Crows show the right stuff. Natural History 3, 28.
  • Onion, A. (2001). Looking right: scientists explore whether most animals, like people, favour one side. ABC News Online (USA), 12 December.
  • Fannin, P. (2001). Right wing rules the crows. The Melbourne Age, 13/12/2001.
  • Witze, A. (2001). Researches say these crows deserve a hand. The Dallas Morning News, 17/12/2001.
  • Milius, S. (2001). Crows appear to make tools right-handedly. Science News 160, 375.
  • Noble, I. (2001). Clever crows lean to the right. BBC News Online 12/12/2001.
  • Maugh III, T.H. (2001). ‘Right-headed’ behavior observed among crows. Los Angles Times Online, 17/12/2001.
  • Brown, I. (2001). Study: most crows are righties. DiscoveryNews Online, 14/12/2001.
  • Stein, R. (2001). Crows tend leftward. The Washington Post Online, 17/12/2001.
  • Trivedi, B. Crafty crows found to be “right-handed”. National Geographic News Online, 12/12/2001.
  • Withgott, J. (2001). Crows get it right. ScienceNow Online, 14/12/2001.
  • Leslie, M. (2000). Crows wield beak-crafted tools. ScienceNow Online, 9/3/2000.
  • Abrams, M. (1997). Avis habilis. Discovery 18, 70.
  • Anon. (1997). Clever Pacific crows make customized tools. National Geographic 192, Earth Almanac section.
  • Adler, T. (1996). Crows rely on tools to get their work done. Science News 149, 37.
  • Anon. (1996). Tool time. Scientific American 274, 20.
  • Anon. (1996). Something to crow about. Economist 338, 100.
  • Browne, M. (1996). Second greatest toolmaker?: A title crows can crow about. New York Times 30/1/96, C1-C2.
  • Dayton, L. (1996). Stone the crows - they’re smart birds. Sydney Morning Herald 20/1/96, 3.
  • DuTailly, E. (1996). Le corbeau calédonien est un surdoué. Les Nouvelles calédoniennes 19/1/96, 4-5.
  • Eyles, E. (1996). Le corbeau pensant. Science et Vie 945, 72-74.
  • Spinney, L. (1996). Stone me, those crows make tools. New Scientist 149, 16.

(b) Books and scientific research journals (excluding other crow research articles)

  • Shumaker, R.W., Walkup, K.R. and Beck, B.B. (2011). Animal tool behaviour: the use and manufacture of tools by animals. The John Hopkins University Press, USA.
  • Silva, F.J. and Silva, K.M. (2010). How do adult humans compare with New Caledonian crows in tool selectivity? Learning and Behavior 38, 87-95.
  • Taylor, J. (2009). Not a chimp: the hunt to find the genes that make us human. Oxford University Press. (pages 198-209)
  • Wimpenny, J. (2008). Those birds can make tools: stone the crows! In: Defining moments in science: over a century of the greatest discoveries, experiments, inventions, people, publications, and events that rocked the world (eds A. Impey, M. Steer & H. Birch), pp. 688-689.
  • Clayton, N. (2007). Animal cognition: crows spontaneously solve a metatool task. Commentary on Taylor et al. (2007). Current Biology 17, R894-895.
  • Hansell, M. and Ruxton, G.D. (2007). Setting tool use within the context of animal behaviour. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23, 73-78.
  • Healy, S. D. and Rowe, C. (2007). A critique of comparative studies of brain size. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B 274, 453-464.
  • Jarvis, E.D. et al. (leader of the 29 members of the Avian Brain Nomenclature Consortium) (2005). Avian brains and a new understanding of vertebrate brain evolution. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 6, 151-159.
  • Galef, B.G. and Laland, K.N. (2005). Social learning in animals: empirical studies and theoretical models. BioScience 55, 489-499.
  • Hansell, M. (2005). Animal Architecture. Oxford University Press. (pages 127-129).
  • Emery, N.J. and Clayton, N.S. (2004). The mentality of crows: convergent evolution of intelligence in corvids and apes. Science 306, 1903-1907.
  • Sterelny, K. (2003). Thought in a hostile world: the evolution of human cognition. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK.
  • Plotkin, H. (1998). Evolution in mind: an introduction to evolutionary psychology. Penguin Books, UK. (pages 268-269).
  • Karel, R. (1996). Tool-using crows give new meaning to term ‘bird brained’. Psychiatric News 31, 6.


Other scientific articles about New Caledonian crows

  • Bluff, L.A., Troscianko, J., Weir, A.A.S., Kacelnik, A., and Rutz, C. (2010). Tool use by wild New Caledonian crows Corvus moneduloides at natural foraging sites. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B 277, 1377-1385.

  • Rutz, C., Bluff, L.A., Reed, N., Troscianko, J., Newton, J., Inger, R., Kacelnik, A. and Bearhop, S. (2010). The ecological significance of tool use in New Caledonian crows. Science 329, 1523-1526.
  • von Bayern, A.M.P., Heathcote, R.J.P., Rutz, C., Kacelnik, A. (2009). The Role of experience in problem solving and innovative tool use in crows. Current Biology 19, 1965-1968.
  • Wimpenny, J.H., Weir, A.A.S., Clayton, L., Rutz, C. and Kacelnik, A. (2009). Cognitive processes associated with sequential tool use in New Caledonian crows. PLoS ONE 4, e6471.
  • Bluff, L.A., Weir, A.A.S., Rutz, C., Wimpenny, J.H. and Kacelnik, A. (2007). Tool-related cognition in New Caledonian crows. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews 2, 1-25.
  • Troscianko, J., Bluff, L.A. and C. Rutz (2008). Grass-stem tool use in New Caledonian crows Corvus moneduloides. Ardea 96, 283–285.
  • Rutz, C., Bluff, L.A., Weir, A.A.S. and Kacelnik, A. (2007). Video cameras on wild birds. Science 318, 765.
  • Weir, A.A.S. and Kacelnik, A. (2006). A New Caledonian crow (Corvus moneduloides) creatively re-designs tools by bending or unbending aluminium strips. Animal Cognition 9, 317-334.
  • Kenward, B., Rutz, C., Weir, A.A.S. and Kacelnik, A. (2006). Development of tool use in New Caledonian crows: inherited action patterns and social influence. Animal Behaviour 72, 1329-1343.
  • Kenward, B., Weir, A.A.S., Rutz, C. and Kacelnik, A. (2005). Tool manufacture by naive juvenile crows. Nature 433, 121.
  • Kenward, B., Rutz, C., Weir, A.A.S., Chappell, J. and Kacelnik, A. (2004). Morphology and sexual dimorphism of the New Caledonian crow Corvus moneduloides, with notes on its behaviour and ecology. Ibis 146, 652-660.
  • Weir, A.A.S., Kenward, B., Chappell, J. and Kacelnik, A. (2004). Lateralization of tool use in New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B (Suppl.) 271, S344-S346.
  • Chappell, J. and Kacelnik, A. (2004). Selection of tool diameter by New Caledonian crows Corvus moneduloides. Animal Cognition 7, 121-127.
  • Weir, A.A.S., Chappell, J. and Kacelnik, A. (2002). Shaping of hooks in New Caledonian crows. Science 297, 981.
  • Chappell, J. and Kacelnik, A. (2002). Tool selectivity in a non-mammal, the New Caledonian crow (Corvus moneduloides). Animal Cognition 5, 71-78.