Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 13:09 UK

Clever crow creates a new tool


Betty, a New Caledonian crow, astounded scientists with her tool-crafting abilities, which were first reported in the journal Science in 2002.

The researchers were testing how New Caledonian crows selected tools by presenting them with a small bucket, placed in a well, which was filled with some food, and pieces of wire, some straight and some with a hook at the end.

The aim was to see whether the crows would select the bent wire to retrieve the treat-laden bucket.

But Betty astonished researchers when she selected a straight piece of wire and then used her beak to bend it into a hook so she could pull up the bucket of food.

This was the first time that any animal had been seen to make a new tool for a specific task, without an extended period of trial-and-error learning.

Footage courtesy of the behavioural ecology group, Oxford University


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