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Young ravens can be as smart as adult monkeys

You really can’t call a raven a birdbrain, because they and other corvids (the avian family they belong to) are actually pretty smart. New research published in Scientific Reports suggests that, at just four months old, these birds can compete as well as adults chimpanzees and orangutans in certain cognitive tasks.

The work focused on eight hand-raised ravens. They were tested at the age of four, eight, 12, and 16 months using the Primate Cognition Test Battery (PCTB), a standardized test for assessing animal cognition. The researchers tested if the birds exhibited spatial memory, understood numbers and addition, and if they could learn from and communicate with their handlers. They even looked at object permanence, which is the ability to know that an object still exists even if it's out of sight.

The researchers found that the ravens' cognitive skills did not change during the test period, suggesting that they are already quite cognitively capable long before they become adults. At four months, ravens start to gain independence from their parents but it takes years for them to reach sexual maturity.

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