Ravens are misunderstood creatures but yet fascinating birds. The sleek black creatures with sharp beaks have been mentioned in tails from thousands of years ago. Such as the Old Testament, Native American historical traditions, and Edgar Allen Poe's famously haunting poem The Raven. These creatures have be long been known for their intelligence. They are known to hoard and use objects as tools, and to work in pairs to find food. And now they have been used in a broaden approach of studying animal cognition in a new study published in Scientific Reports. Remarkably, researchers have discovered that only four month old ravens can perform as well on cognitive tests as adult orangutans and gorillas.
Under the lead authorship of Professor Simone Pika, a team from the Osnabrück Research Group for Comparative BioCognition (CBC) conducted the first comparative evaluation of ravens’ cognitive abilities. For this study, eight ravens have been raised by hand and each one tested using the same version of the Primate Cognition Test Battery (PCTB). The physical components of PCTB tested cognitive functions such as the raven's spatial awareness, ability to understand object permanence and the social components tested their communication and learning abilities.
After gathering all the data from the study, the finding of the ravens results were compared to those of gorillas and orangutans. It was discovered that by only four months old, ravens were already cognitively comparable to adult primates. The four month old ravens already understood quantities, grasped causation, and showed social learning which are the same as the formerly studied apes.This demonstrates social and physical intelligence and “general rather than domain specific intelligence.” However, the researchers explained that there might be the possibility that being raised by humans had socialised the test subjects so that the results of wild young ravens may differ.