Bird brain: Crows can tell if humans are friend from foe

CROW’S memory for human faces is excellent, a study revealed. They have the ability to tell the difference between a friendly face and a dangerous one and then warn each other which is which.

Said to be as intelligent as chimpanzees, will remember the face of a person who has posed a threat to them for the five-year period that the study took place. “Our findings add to the evolving view of large-brained, social and long-lived birds like crows being on a cognitive par with our closest relatives,” said Dr John Marzluff, of the University of Washington.

Scientists wore a ‘dangerous face’ mask while trapping, banding and releasing crows at five sites in Seattle.

Five year’s later the crows reacted in a hostile manner to the ‘dangerous face’ mask, and as the researchers walked around in the masks the number of crows reacting in this way increased, suggesting that the captured birds had warned others. “Because human actions often threaten animals, learning socially about individual people’s habits would be advantageous,” said Dr Marzluff.

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