Birds are very smart.
The crow, which is among the most intelligent birds, can, among other things, count and recognize faces for up to five years.
This is especially surprising given that their brains are very small compared to equally smart mammals.
Mammals and birds have not had a common relative for 320 million years.
Then part of the cerebrum of mammals began to develop into what is now the cerebral cortex.
The cerebral cortex, which is located in the front part of the brain, controls, among other things, thought activity and emotions.
The equivalent of birds is called pallium.
But researchers have long wondered how birds can have as developed cognition as mammals when their brains are so much smaller.
Now a new study from Science shows that they have greater similarities than previously thought.
The German research group analyzed nerve cells and 3D images of pigeons and owls 'brains, they discovered that the birds' nerve pathways had a similar structure to our mammals.
It is already known that many birds are very dense with nerve cells.
For example, the pallium of the cerebral brain contains 14 times more nerve cells per gram than the human cerebral cortex.
Birds that see, hear and feel
- It has previously been thought that the cells in the bird's brain are so dense that there has been no room for them to communicate with more than the cells closest to them, says Christian Balkenius who is a professor of cognitive science.
But the new study shows that they can communicate at longer distances.
Therefore can compile larger amounts of information.
We thus have even greater similarities than we previously thought.
Similarities concerning our thought activity and consciousness, that is, how we remember and reflect on things.
This may explain why crows are able to solve problems and plan their time.
Crows also have such a good facial memory that they get to know people.
If someone is a threat, they warn the other crows in the herd.
Source: The study was published in Science this week.