Crows Are Self-Aware and 'Know What They Know', Just Like Humans

Posted on September 30, 2020

In new research published in Science, German scientists put crows through a series of puzzling tasks. During those tasks, the scientists measured neural activity in different kinds of neurons with the goal of tracking how crows were sensing and reasoning through their work. They sought to study a specific kind of thinking called sensory consciousness, and they chose birds in particular as an evolutionary history pivot.

“Sensory consciousness, the ability to have subjective experience that can be explicitly accessed and thus reported, arises from brain processes that emerged through evolutionary history,” the researchers write. “Today, the neural correlates of consciousness are primarily associated with the workings of the primate cerebral cortex, a part of the telencephalic pallium that is laminar in organization. Birds, by contrast, have evolved a different pallium since they diverged from the mammalian lineage 320 million years ago.”

The birds performed in a way that affirms their sensory consciousness, which scientists say could mean the “neural correlates of consciousness” date back to at least the last time birds and mammals shared that brain section.

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Source material from Popular Mechanics


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