New Caledonian crows are smart.

Really smart.  Smarter than quite a few people I can think of.  From the BBC:

…the University of Auckland team set seven wild crows, which had temporarily been captured and placed in an aviary, a complicated problem.

The birds were presented with some out-of reach food; a long tool, which could be used to extract the food, but which was also out of reach, tucked behind the bars of a box; and a short tool, which could be used to extract the long tool, but which was attached to the end of a dangling piece of string tied to the crow’s perch.

Professor Russell Gray, from the University of Auckland, explained: “The crows needed to understand they needed the short tool on the piece of string to get the long tool, and then use the long tool to get the food.”

Now watch Sam the Crow on his first go after spending less than two minutes examining his predicament:

Kind of creepy, really.  Clearly we are mistaken in thinking ourselves fantastically clever among the beasts of the earth.  If these things had our thumbs, our pathological narcissism, our maniacal nature-dominating compulsions, and our peculiar belief that infinite exponential population growth is both plausible and desirable, we’d surely have no choice but to become their devoted pets within a few crow generations.

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