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为什么乌鸦和7岁儿童一样聪明?

Why Crows Are as Smart as 7 Year Old Humans

In the animal kingdom,
在动物世界
intelligence has evolved in many different ways, in many different creatures.
不同生物的智力有许多不同的进化方式
We often think of our fellow primates at the top of the intelligence list
我们通常认为灵长类是智力最高的动物
with their ability to use tools like sticks and rocks to access food
因为它们能用棍子和石头之类的工具获取食物
and with their ability to recognize themselves in the mirror.
也能在镜子中辨认出自己
Orcas too are among the most intelligent,
虎鲸也是智力最高的动物之一
with their unique language skills and orchestrated hunting techniques.
它们有着独特的语言技能和精妙的捕猎技巧
And anyone with a dog is constantly surprised
狗狗的主人常会惊叹于
at complex feats of social intelligence and emotional sensitivity.
狗狗强大的社交和情感共鸣能力
Intelligence seems to thrive in animals like this –
生活在紧密的社会群体中的动物
mammals – often carnivorous ones –
智力似乎很高
that live in tight social groups.
比如哺乳动物 而且通常是食肉动物
But if we survey the world of animals,
但如果我们纵览整个动物世界
one of the smartest is one that is perhaps unexpected,
其中一种最聪明的动物可能出人意料
an animal that isn’t a mammal at all,
它根本不是哺乳动物
but a bird – crows,
而是一种鸟——乌鸦
or more generally – corvids.
或者更普遍地来说是鸦科动物
Corvids are mischievous, playful, and extremely intelligent.
鸦科动物调皮 活泼并且极为聪明
They use tools to forage and to solve complex problems –
它们会用工具觅食和解决复杂问题
they even drop nuts on a road for cars to crack,
它们甚至会把坚果扔到路上让汽车压碎其外壳
and then pick them up with the safety of pedestrian lights.
等斑马线绿灯亮了再飞过去捡
They can also recognize faces
它们也能辨认人脸
and can hold a grudge against someone who was rude to them for several years.
如果有人对它们不敬 它们能记仇好几年
They can mimic sounds that they hear,
它们能模仿听过的声音
and scientists have found that
科学家发现
their problem solving skills rival that of a 7-year-old human
它们的解决问题能力与七岁儿童相当
How is it that crows are so profoundly intelligent,
乌鸦为何会如此聪明
and how is it that we even measure their intelligence in the first place?
我们一开始又是如何检测其智力的呢?
Is bird intelligence wired in the same way as mammal intelligence,
鸟类智力与哺乳动物智力的生理机制相同
or is it something different all together?
抑或是完全不同?
从何看出乌鸦很聪明?
The corvid family is also known as the crow family,
鸦科也被称为乌鸦科
and includes crows, jays, ravens, rooks, and magpies.
其中包括乌鸦 松鸦 渡鸦 秃鼻乌鸦和喜鹊
The level of intelligence varies between the species,
不同种类鸦科动物的智力水平各不相同
but scientists have found that the New Caledonian crow is the most intelligent,
但科学家发现新喀鸦智力最高
they’re to corvids what we are to the rest of the primates.
它们之于鸦科就如同我们之于其他灵长类
In 2014,
2014年
the crows were presented with various tubes filled with water,
新喀鸦面前放着多种装有水的管子
with a treat floating on top, which they couldn’t quite reach.
水面上浮着够不到的食物
In one trial,
在一次试验中
when presented with a treat inside a tube of water and a treat sitting on top of sand,
分别将食物置于一管水和一管沙中
the crows knew to drop rocks into the water-filled tube
新喀鸦懂得把石头扔进装着水的管子里
to raise the water level to reach the treat,
通过升高水位触及食物
and ignored the tube with sand.
而忽略装着沙的管子
In the next trial,
在下一个试验中
when presented with a single tube of water, and objects with various densities,
当面前是一管水和不同密度的物体时
the crows knew to select the sinking objects
新喀鸦懂得选会下沉的物体来获取食物
rather than the floating ones to reach the treat.
而不选会浮起的物体
When presented with two tubes of differing water levels,
当面前是水位不同的两个管子时
the crows knew to drop objects into the tube with the higher water level
新喀鸦懂得将物体扔进水位更高的管子中
to reach the treat faster.
以更快地获取食物
These trials demonstrated the crows’ abilities
这些试验证明了新喀鸦
in both problem solving and tool use.
解决问题和利用工具两方面的能力
And the authors believe that their skill level
作者认为新喀鸦
at deciphering and completing these tasks
理解和完成这些任务的技能水平
is similar to 5 to 7-year-old children.
近似于5到7岁的儿童
However, in two more challenging tasks,
但是 在两个更具挑战性的任务中
the crows didn’t perform as well.
新喀鸦表现欠佳
One required understanding the difference in a wide tube versus a narrow tube,
一个测试任务需要理解管口宽窄的差异
and another was a counter-intuitive task
另一个则是反直觉任务
where the tube with the reward
任务中浮着奖励的管子
was connected to another tube via a hidden u-bend,
与另一个管子通过隐藏的U型管相连
the crows didn’t fully grasp these setups.
而新喀鸦并未完全理解这些装置
But in comparison, during tests with human children,
作为对比 参与了同样测试的儿童中
only kids around 8 years old were able to consistently solve such tests.
只有8岁左右的儿童能持续通过这些测试
And in addition to using tools, New Caledonian crows can build tools,
除了使用工具 新喀鸦还能制作工具
and not just simple ones, but ones with multiple parts.
不只是简单的工具 有多个组件的工具也行
When given objects that were too short
当提供的工具太短
to retrieve food from a puzzle box,
无法取出迷箱里的食物时
the crows combined elements
新喀鸦通过将棍子插入
by inserting one stick into the hollowed opening of another
另一根空心棍中来将零件组合起来
to make a tool long enough to reach the food.
制作出了一个能够够到食物的工具
One crow even made 3 and 4-part tools.
一只新喀鸦甚至制作了有3到4个组件的工具
Compound tool construction like this
像这样的复合工具构造
has only been observed outside humans
除了人以外
in a few captive great apes.
只在少数圈养的类人猿身上观察到
It is usually only associated with human intelligence.
一般这种工具构造只会与人类智力相关
And in addition to this, we now think
除此之外 我们现在认为
crows might be better than we ever could have imagined
乌鸦规划未来的能力
at making plans for the future.
可能超越我们的想像
The ability to take actions now that will give a benefit later
为了未来收益而在现在采取行动
is not something that most animals are good at.
并不是多数动物都擅长的能力
Delayed gratification and planning are high-order skills.
延迟满足和规划是高阶技能
Human children can’t do this,
儿童无法做到
and neither can’t many of the adults that I know.
我所知的不少成年人也做不到
It requires our memory of the past and foresight for future events.
这种能力基于过去的记忆和对未来的预判
Can crows, of all animals,
在所有动物中
really possess this ability?
乌鸦真的有这种能力吗?
In a study published in 2020,
在2020年发表的一项研究中
New Caledonian crows were first shown
新喀鸦首先看到
one of three puzzle boxes that they already knew how to open
三个它们已经知道打开方法的迷箱中的一个
–each requiring a specific tool.
——每个迷箱只有特定工具能打开
They were then removed from the test area for 5 minutes
然后将它们移出测试区五分钟
before being presented with 5 different objects:
之后将五种不同物品放在它们面前:
1 tool for each of the boxes, and 2 distraction objects.
三个工具是正确选项 两个工具是干扰项
After selecting an object and waiting 10 minutes,
选择一个物体并等待10分钟后
they were allowed back into the test area.
它们才能回到测试区
The researchers discovered that
研究者发现
not only did the birds choose the correct tool
它们不仅选择了
that would open the corresponding puzzle box,
能打开相应迷箱的正确的工具
but they would remember to bring the tool with them into the test area.
而且还会记得将工具带进测试区
In another study,
在另一项研究中
researchers presented the birds
研究者以相似的方式
with a locked box with a treat in a similar manner.
将锁住食物的迷箱放在新喀鸦面前
But this time, the birds were then presented with an assortment of items
而这次提供给新喀鸦的是各式各样的物品
including the correct tool, a few distracter tools, and an immediate food reward –
包括正确的工具 几个干扰项和即时食物奖励
but one that was less appealing than the one in the locked box.
但该食物不如上了锁的迷箱里的食物有吸引力
And most of the time,
大多数时候
the birds took the risk and delayed their gratification,
它们选择了承担风险 延迟满足
kept the correct tool,
拿到正确的工具
and later opened the box with the better treat.
然后打开迷箱获取更好的食物
This might seem easy to us, but it isn’t.
这对我们来说似乎很容易 实则不然
Only once human children reach 5 years old does this ability arise,
儿童五岁之后才会出现这样的能力
and even then, it doesn’t in all of them,
而即便到了五岁 这也不是必然现象
for some, it takes a few more years.
一部分孩子要多等几年才能做到
These mental skills certainly set crows apart from other animals,
这些心理技能确实使乌鸦有别于其他动物
with their actions and abilities more in line with the smartest of the primates.
其行动和能力更接近最聪明的灵长类动物
How does this bird
这种鸟是如何
give the most intelligent primates a run for their money?
与最聪明的灵长类动物竞争的?
Why does a bird need to be this smart?
为什么一种鸟要聪明到这个程度呢?
为什么乌鸦聪明?
Even though crows may have a similar intelligence to many primates,
尽管乌鸦的智力可能与很多灵长类相似
bird brains and primate brains are not at all the same.
但鸟类的脑与灵长类完全不同
Birds and mammals split on the evolutionary tree
3亿2千万年前
320 million years ago,
鸟类和哺乳类在演化树上分岔
and since then, their brains have become quite distinct from one another,
自那以后 鸟类的脑与哺乳类截然不同
making scientists question exactly why corvids are so smart.
这让科学家们疑惑鸦科鸟类为何如此聪明
In vertebrates, the pallium is the grey and white matter that covers the brain.
脊椎动物的大脑皮质包裹着大脑 由灰质和白质组成
Before the evolutionary split,
在演化树分岔之前
both birds and mammals evolved a large pallium.
鸟类和哺乳类都演化出了较大的皮质
But, after their lineages split,
但在类群分岔之后
the mammal pallium evolved into a layered structure
哺乳类的皮质演化成了一种
known as the cerebral cortex.
被称作大脑皮层的多层结构
This is the most complex structure of the mammalian brain.
这是哺乳类脑部最复杂的结构
Each layer contains nerve fibers running horizontally and vertically
每一层都有水平方向和垂直方向排布的神经纤维
that process and transmit information.
它们负责处理和传递信息
Here is where many important functions take place,
这个部位控制着很多很重要的功能
including learning, memory, sensory perception, and conceptual thinking.
包括学习 记忆 感官知觉和概念思维
Birds don’t have a cerebral cortex.
鸟类没有哺乳类那样的大脑皮层
But a study published in 2020 found that
但2020年发表的一项研究发现
the fibers and circuitry in the bird pallium
鸟类大脑皮质中的神经纤维及神经回路的
are organized very similarly to a mammalian neocortex –
组织与哺乳类的大脑新皮层很相似
with fibers running both horizontally and vertically.
神经纤维都是呈水平及垂直方向交错排布
The authors believe this explains where bird intelligence comes from.
作者认为这能解释鸟类智力的来源
Another reason why birds were initially thought
鸟类最初被认为不会这么聪明
to be incapable of this level of intelligence
还有另一个原因
was due to the small size of their brains.
那就是它们的脑容量小
But, it’s not the absolute size of an animal’s brain that matters,
但重要的不是动物的绝对脑容量
but the brain-to-body ratio.
而是脑容量与身体体积的比例
Crows tend to have big brains compared to their body size.
与身体体积相比 乌鸦的脑容量算比较大
In mammals, the bigger-brained individuals are humans and dolphins;
哺乳类里脑容量较大的个体是人类和海豚
in birds, it’s parrots and crows.
鸟类里则是鹦鹉和乌鸦
However, as scientists’ understanding of the brain grew,
然而 随着科学家对大脑的了解越来越深
they discovered it wasn’t just size that mattered,
他们发现智力不完全取决于脑容量
or even brain size relative to body size.
甚至也不完全取决于相对脑容量
A big proponent of an animal’s intelligence is the density of neurons.
动物智力的一个决定因素是神经元密度
This is because having tightly packed neurons
这是因为神经元密度越大
leads to better communication between them.
越利于彼此的交流
And it turns out
研究发现
that certain bird species have very densely packed neurons.
某些鸟类的神经元非常密集
In a 2016 study,
在2016年的一项研究中
researchers measured the number of neurons in various bird and primate species.
研究者测量了不同鸟类和灵长类动物的神经元数量
They found that some birds, like corvids,
他们发现一些鸟类 比如鸦科鸟类
have twice as many neurons as primates
拥有的神经元数量是大脑差不多大小的
with similar-sized brains,
灵长类的两倍
with numbers closer to that of larger primates.
更接近更大的灵长类动物
While these findings tell us
虽然这些发现告诉了我们
how crows are so smart,
乌鸦如何做到如此聪明
the question remains as to why.
但是我们还要问为什么
Plenty of bird species thrive
大量的鸟类神经元较少
with fewer neurons and weaker mental abilities,
心智能力较差 也能繁衍生息
so why did crows evolve this way?
那为何乌鸦的神经元这样进化呢?
One theory is that it has to do with the way they are raised.
一种理论称这与它们的成长方式有关
Unlike other species,
不像其他鸟类
corvids spend more time with their parents.
鸦科鸟类与父母相处得更久
New Caledonian crows are fed by their parents for up to two years.
新喀鸦父母的育雏时间长达两年
During this time,
在这期间
they have ample access to role models who are making and using tools
它们有很多机会向父母学习如何制作和使用工具
and have the opportunity to use these tools themselves.
并有机会亲自使用这些工具
This extended parenting time allows skills to be transmitted vertically,
这种延长的育儿时间让技能得以垂直传递
meaning, from parents to off-spring
即由父母传授给子女
The family groups of many species of crow can be very tight,
很多乌鸦种类的家庭群体非常紧密
with young crows even helping to defend their parents’ new nest of babies.
年轻乌鸦甚至会帮父母守护新巢里的雏鸟
However, beyond tight family groups,
但是 在紧密的家庭群体以外
adults of many species of corvids don’t lead particularly social lives.
很多种类的鸦科成年鸟类社交活动甚少
New Caledonian crows mate for life,
新喀鸦只为了延续生命而交配
but otherwise, don’t really interact with other adults.
但除此之外 基本不会与其他成年同类互动
Other species of corvid will often forage and roost in large groups,
其他种类的鸦科鸟类常会成群觅食栖息
or work together to mob a predator
或者协作围剿捕猎者
– but there isn’t a social hierarchy or complex social bonds in these settings.
但这些群体中没有等级划分或是复杂的社会纽带
This seems to go against one leading theory of intelligence,
这似乎和一种主流智力理论相悖
called the social intelligence hypothesis.
即社会智力假说
Chimpanzees, for example, live in large and complex social groups,
例如 黑猩猩生活在庞大而复杂的社会群体中
where they have to interact with others outside their immediate family
它们必须与群体中直系亲属以外的成员互动
and keep tabs on many relationships.
并需要密切留意很多社会关系
It’s a constant game of politics.
这是持续的政治游戏
Dogs, wolves, and even orcas,
狗 狼 甚至虎鲸
have to deal with a great amount of social complexity.
必须要处理很多复杂的族内关系
And this “social intelligence” needs a lot of brain power.
这种“社会智力”需要相当多的脑力
If adults of many of the smartest corvids
如果不少最聪明的成年鸦科鸟类
don’t live in complex social groups,
所处的社会群体并不复杂
why would a similar intelligence have evolved?
那为何会演化出类似的智力呢?
Adult corvids may rarely live in wide social groups, but often, juveniles do.
成年鸦科鸟类很少群居 但其未成年同类则相反
Before pairing up with a mating partner, during their ‘teenage’ years,
在与交配伴侣配对之前的“青少年”时期
some species of corvids live in larger flocks,
有些种类的鸦科会生活在更大的群体中
aptly called juvenile gangs.
或者称之为不良少年团伙更为合适
And these gangs work exactly like it sounds,
这些团伙行如其名
a bunch of teenagers hang out and bully each other and fight.
一帮青少年鸦科鸟类聚众互相欺负打斗
In these angsty years, corvids, like ravens for example,
在这段焦虑的日子里 鸦科鸟类 如渡鸦
form the many relationships that they have to keep tabs on.
会形成很多需要密切关注的关系
And, intriguingly, corvids may need social intelligence
有趣的是 鸦科鸟类可能需要社会智力
to interact with other species.
来与其他物种互动
Outside of Yellowstone National park,
在黄石国家公园以外
certain ravens have been seen interacting with wolves – especially wolf pups.
有人发现一些渡鸦会与狼——尤其是狼崽——互动
The animals can be seen to play tug-of-war,
它们会一起玩拔河游戏
and the ravens teasing and enticing the puppies to jump and grab sticks.
渡鸦会戏弄并引诱狼崽跳起扑向木棍
Sometimes, the ravens will even pull the wolves’ tails.
有时渡鸦甚至会拉狼的尾巴
By all accounts, it looks like the animals are playing.
人们都说这看起来就像在玩耍
Some scientists think that
一些科学家认为
individual ravens may even develop special bonds with individual wolves within a pack.
渡鸦个体甚至可能会与个别狼群建立起特殊纽带
This relationship-building
这种关系的建立
may help the ravens more readily scavenge the wolves’ kills.
可能会让乌鸦更容易从狼吃剩的腐肉中分一杯羹
This propensity to interact with other species
这种与其他物种互动的习性
has some groups wondering
让一些组织想知道
how we may be able to cooperate with corvids.
我们可能如何与鸦科鸟类建立合作关系
One idea is to train crows and other corvids
一种想法是训练乌鸦及其他鸦科鸟类
to pick up cigarette butts or garbage.
捡起烟蒂或垃圾
A few different companies are developing devices that will autonomously train the birds,
有几家公司正在研发能自动训练鸦科鸟类的设备
giving the birds a treat once they place the trash into the device.
受训鸟只要将垃圾放进设备就会得到一个奖励
A theme park in France has already been undertaking a similar operation.
法国一个主题公园已经开展了类似项目
They trained six rooks to pick up trash, four days a week,
他们训练六只秃鼻乌鸦捡垃圾 每周四天
under the supervision of the park’s falconer.
在该公园训鹰师的监督下进行
While it may seem like
虽然这看着像是
we’re taking advantage of these birds and their intelligence
我们在利用这些鸟及其智力
by having them do something we should already be doing ourselves,
让它们做些人类本应该自己做的事
those involved seem to have good intentions.
但那些项目似乎初衷不坏
It helps the environment,
这些项目有助于环境保护
teaches humans to cooperate with other species,
教会人类与其他物种合作
and teaches the public about these intelligent creatures.
并向公众普及这些聪明的生物
By studying other intelligent species,
通过研究其他聪明的物种
and what made them that way,
及其智力的来由
scientists have gained a better understanding of the brain and its development.
科学家对大脑及其演化发展有了更多认识
And for all we know,
众所周知
we could be overlooking other small-brained species
我们可能忽视了其他脑容量较小的物种
that could harbor a higher intelligence
这些物种可能也有较高的智力
– other animals that can help us unlock the many secrets of the brain.
这些动物能帮助我们解开很多大脑的奥秘
I love talking about animal intelligence on this channel,
我很乐于在这个节目里讲述动物智力
because I love the way the brain works.
因为我喜欢大脑运转的方式
I love its mysteries and its unbelievable power.
我喜欢大脑的神秘感及其难以置信的力量
And because of this I love the feeling of learning
因此我喜欢学习的感觉
– of grasping new concepts,
喜欢掌握新概念时的感觉
of those moments of sudden understanding washing over you,
喜欢当物理 数学 化学和生物开始串连起来时
when physics and math and chemistry and biology start to click together,
那些豁然开朗的片刻
feeling like one beautiful interconnected machine
这感觉就像有一个环环相扣的美妙机器
that explains our universe.
诠释了宇宙的奥秘
I’d like to think crows feel this too
我想 当乌鸦得到管中的食物时
when they get their treat out of the tube.
也有这样的感受
To engage myself in STEM learning, I use Brilliant.
(之后都是广告)
And if you’re looking for something else to watch right now,
如果你想找些别的节目看
you can watch our previous video about the jellyfish that lives forever,
可以看看我们之前关于永生水母的视频
or watch Real Engineering’s latest video
或者Real Engineering的最新视频
about the way engineering solved the mystery of the Concorde crash.
讲述了如何用工程学解开协和式飞机坠毁的谜题

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视频概述

乌鸦是否真的如《乌鸦喝水》故事中讲的那样聪明?如果真是如此,是什么让它们如此聪明?为什么它们要如此聪明? 感兴趣的话,戳进视频寻找答案吧~

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

etalsnart

审核员

审核员XY

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aWL2iEb6y4

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