My ideas about animal behaviour were turned upside down in 2002 when I watched Betty, a New Caledonian crow, fashion a hook from a piece of wire and use it to pull a small container with meat from a tube.
Betty's behaviour captivated scientists because it seemed so creative: there was no obvious solution to the problem yet Betty had found a way. How could this crow be thinking, given it was separated from humans by 620 million years of independent evolution?
Our latest research, published today, helps us answer this question.
It provides conclusive evidence that, like a chess player thinking several moves ahead, New Caledonia crows can plan out a sequence of three behaviours while using tools in order to solve a problem.