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Crows are no bird-brains, Japanese study finds

A study of the brains of crows has found that the birds have a large cerebrum, which governs learning and thought, and that the parts of their brains connected to intelligent behavior are well developed.

In the study, researchers from Keio University mapped out the brains of crows for the first time. They found that the ratio of the weight of the bird's brains compared to their body weight was about the same as that of monkeys.

Crows have been observed using tools such as tree branches to catch insects, and have long been considered intelligent. The latest research scientifically proves that they are indeed intelligent.

In order to split up areas of the birds' brains, researchers made circular, vertical cuts to the frozen brain of a crow at 1 millimeter intervals, and examined the nerve cells under microscopes, to produce about 50 brain maps.

They found that the birds had large cerebrums, and that parts of the cerebrum connected with intelligent behavior were well developed. They said these parts were equivalent to the parts of the human cerebral cortex called the association area that takes on the task of processing complicated information.

"The society of crows is complicated and ordered, and is similar to that of monkeys' play areas and human society," a professor on the research team said. "Determining where crows, whose evolution process is different, obtained their intellect from is useful in shedding light on where the intelligence of humans and monkeys came from." (Mainichi)

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