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 Ravens Use Hand Gestures to Communicate

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مُساهمةموضوع: Ravens Use Hand Gestures to Communicate   الجمعة ديسمبر 02, 2011 10:24 pm

Ravens Use Hand Gestures to Communicate
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Ravens Use Hand Gestures to Communicate
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Ravens Use Hand Gestures to Communicate Here’s something fascinating. Ravens use their beaks and wings much like humans use their hands to make gestures, scientists have discovered.

Even though we’re located in Baltimore, we’re not talking about football players here. We’re talking about actual ravens.

This is the first time researchers have witnessed gestures used wild animals other than primates.

Human babies often use gestures from ages 9 months to 12 months to point out various objects in their environments. This is seen as a major milestone in the development of their speech.

Scientists had thought that the natural development of gestures was restricted to primates, said researcher Simone Pika, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany.

Even then, comparable gestures are rarely seen in the wild.

Still, ravens and their relatives like crows and magpies have been found to be remarkably intelligent, surpassing most other birds in terms of brains.

“[What] I noticed when I encountered ravens for the first time is that they are, contrary to my main focus of research, chimpanzees, a very object-oriented species,” Pika said. “It reminded me of my childhood, when my twin brother and I were still little and one of us suddenly regained a favorite toy, which existence both of us had forgotten for a little while. This toy suddenly became the center of interest, fun and competition. Similar things happen, when ravens play with each other and regain objects.”

To see if ravens could actually communicated via gestures, researchers studied wild ravens in Cumberland Wildpark in Austria.

The scientists saw the ravens use their beaks as thought they were hands to point out items like moss, stones, and twigs.

The ravens then interacted with one another, often by touching their bills together, or by manipulating the item together. It seems these gestures may actually be used to determine the interest of a potential partner or strengthen an already present bond.

“Most exciting is how a species, which does not represent the prototype of a ‘gesturer’ because it has wings instead of hands, a strong beak and can fly, makes use of very sophisticated nonvocal signals,” Pika told LiveScience.

Pika and her colleagues hope to further study what other gestures ravens use and what their meaning and function might be. Pika and Thomas Bugnyar laid out their results online on November 29 in the journal Nature Communications.

No word on whether or not the birds give each other “the claw” when they’re angry at one another.
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