Wednesday, May 22, 2013
"Bird Brain" Gets New Meaning
Ravens found to have extraordinary communicative skills
According to the scientific journal “Nature Communications,” ravens may possess communicative skills on some of the same levels as primates and humans. During its study, scientists observed the birds performing a type of “look at this” gesture that’s normally not even developed in human babies until they’re about a year old.
It’s a groundbreaking scientific discovery, but some Alaskans say it’s something they’ve known for years. Ravens play a major role in Alaska Native culture. “He’s created or brought about daylight for human beings, he’s attributed with that, says Ethan Petticrew of the Alaska Native Heritage Center. “In some cultures he’s brought fresh water to the world.”
The study shows ravens using gestures and signals to draw each other’s attention to various objects. It was a trait thought to belong exclusively to primates and humans, and scientists say it means ravens are much more similar to people than previously believed.
But at the Heritage Center, it’s something they’ve always believed.