BSS and RBGE Lectures Series - Selection of plant materials by tool-using New Caledonian crows: a botanical detective story from the South Pacific
By Professor Christian Rutz
New Caledonian crows use a variety of tools for extracting prey from hiding places in deadwood and vegetation. Their tool repertoire includes: non-hooked stick tools sourced from the forest floor, hooked stick tools crafted from living branched vegetation, and a variety of shapes cut by bill from the barbed leaves of screw pines. The latter two tool types are widely regarded the most sophisticated animal tools yet discovered. Building on extensive field research, this talk will describe how New Caledonian crows select suitable plant materials for tool manufacture, craft different tool types, and use their tools to acquire nutritious out-of-reach prey.
Professor Christian Rutz is an Evolutionary Ecologist at the Centre for Biological Diversity, University of St Andrews, where he heads the Avian Tool Use Research Group. His long-term field studies have made critical contributions to documenting the New Caledonian crow’s remarkable tool behaviour. This work recently led to the discovery that another tropical corvid, the Hawaiian crow, is also a highly-dexterous tool user – a breakthrough that was reported as the cover story of Nature. Christian’s team has pioneered the use of miniature animal-borne video- and proximity-loggers for studying wild birds, and currently serves as the Founding President of the International Bio-Logging Society.
Lectures are held jointly between the Botanical Society of Scotland (BSS) and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) in the Lecture Theatre. Doors open at 17:30, lecture commences at 18:00.
Booking: no booking required
Venue: Science Buildings: Lecture Theatre @ Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Dates: Thursday 13th December 2018
Times: Doors open at 17:30, lecture commences at 18:00
Thursday 13th December 2018
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