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good with equipment? you can be a cockatoo

TechSciencegood with equipment? you can be a cockatoo

Judging by our ability to start a fire, use tools, and subscribe to Netflix, we humans pride ourselves on our superior smarts. But if other animals can contest that presumption, they might say they’re doing fine, thank goodness.

The latest entrant to Animal Smart Sweepstakes is Goffin’s Cockatoo. Birds used both a pointed stick and a straw in a laboratory in Vienna To remove cashews from a clear box, He used a stick to poke holes in a paper barrier created by scientists, then used a straw to free the cashews. Staff writer Erin Garcia de Jesus reported that when the scientists removed the paper barrier, some birds took the pointed stick home. Why should you carry more equipment than you need?

In Indonesia, wild cockatoos use three different sticks to break open the pits of the fruit. Other animals, including crows, also use tools but do not use as many items as a toolkit. This places these cockatoos in rare territory as the only nonhuman animals known to use a tool set, along with chimpanzees.

Last year, Garcia de Jesus reported on another epic cockatoo skill – Overpowering humans trying to stop birds from raiding garbage cans ,Sn: 10/8/22 and 10/22/22, p. 10, Many people, myself included, have used bricks or bungees to prevent nighttime snacking by raccoons and opossums. Sydney’s cockatoos would scoff at such a frivolous attempt. They quickly learned that they could push a brick. But at least for now, when humans shoved water bottles or sticks into the rear handles of the compartment, they failed. It appears that birds are learning as humans invent new defenses.

And lest you think the bird mind has a lock on the animal mind, Fish may be able to recognize themselves in photographs or a mirror, Researchers in Japan found that when looking in a mirror, bluestreak cleaner wrasses would try to scratch the markings that the researchers had placed on their bodies. Fish can distinguish their faces from other neat fish in photographs. Not all scientists are convinced that fish are self-aware, but fish partisans say it’s time to give aquatic vertebrates their due, independent contributor Betsy Mason reports.

This makes sense, given that goldfish can drive. Researchers in Israel teach six goldfish to navigate a tank full of water For destinations around a room, we reported last year (SN: 2/12/22, p. 4, The fish were trained to move toward a pink board on one side of the room and could still find it when the researchers moved the board to the other wall.

We Loved the Story of the Driving Goldfish So Much We Turned It into a Comic Science News Explore, our magazine and website for young readers. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who were mesmerized. Navigating Fish Comicon with another Trash Bin-Raiding Cockatoo and about a third Panda’s camouflage skillswon the top award for science journalism for kids at the 2022 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards.

Thank you, animals, for continuing to amaze us, even as you feed off of our smug sense of superiority. Some animals also use computers, including nonhuman primates that have been trained to use touch screens. It’s only a matter of time before editor’s notes are written.

Look Science News Explore‘ humor about goldfish drivers bit.ly/SNE_GoldfishComic

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