Parrots can draw conclusions about where to find a food reward not only from clues as to its location, but also from the absence of clues — an ability previously only seen in humans and other apes.
In a new study, researchers tested African Grey parrots on their reasoning abilities by shaking empty boxes and boxes filled with food so that the parrots could hear the snacks rattling around. To pick the box that would win them a treat, the parrots had to figure out that the sound indicated food and that a lack of sound from one box probably meant food in the other. It's a challenge that even human children can't reason through until about age 3.
"It suggests that Grey parrots have some understanding of causality and that they can use this to reason about the world," study scientist Christian Schloegl, a researcher at the University of Vienna, told LiveScience.
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