"If you were holding a brush in your mouth and one of your eyes [was] better than the other at brush length, you would hold the brush so that its tip fell in view of the better eye," says Alejandro Kacelnik of the University of Oxford. "This is what the crows do."
The new study also suggests that the birds' extreme binocular vision characterized by an unusually wide field of view in comparison to other species-actually helps the crows see better with one eye at a time.
In other words, the birds are using their notable binocular vision for better monocular vision, allowing each eye to see further toward the other side of the beak. The birds' unusually wide binocular field is among the first known examples of a physical adaptation to enable tool use, the researchers say.
The crows are one of the most innovative tool users in the animal kingdom, and for good reason. They must use sticks to extract larvae from burrows. In some ways, the New Caledonian crows have a tougher problem to solve than humans do when it comes to using tools, because they don't have the luxury of moving their eyes and beaks independently like humans can with their eyes and hands.
Nevertheless, the findings are a reminder of our shared animal natures, the researchers say.
"Birds and humans face similar problems in tool use and many other activities," Kacelnik says. "Studying similar problems across species helps to put all of them in perspective."
- » News Central
- » Popular News
- » Latest Health News
- » News Category A-Z (500+)
- » Health News and Press Release
- » News Archive
- » News Photo Gallery
- » Lifestyle and Wellness
- » Health Watch
- » Health In Focus
- » Celebrating Life
- » Breaking Health News
- » News From Other Resources
- » India Special
- » News Video Gallery
- » Medindia Exclusive - Interviews and In depth Reports