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Nevermore: Ravens show long term memory for friends and foes

raven remembers/ Markus Boeckle

From “Ravens Remember Relationships They Had With Others” (ScienceDaily, Apr. 19, 2012), we learn,

In daily life we remember faces and voices of several known individuals. Similarly, mammals have been shown to remember calls and faces of known individuals after a number of years. Markus Boeckle and Thomas Bugnyar from the Department of Cognitive Biology of the University of Vienna show in their recent article, published in Current Biology, that ravens differentiate individuals based on familiarity.

Additionally, they discovered that ravens memorize the closeness of a relationship and affiliation.

Until now it was unknown whether ravens could remember the closeness of a relationship based on former positive or negative interactions. In response to calls of formerly known individuals ravens not only increase the number of calls but also change call characteristics dependent on whether they hear former “friends” or “foes.” This suggests that ravens remember specific individuals at least for three years.

Apparently, the ravens’ memory exceeded previous estimates, though it is not clear what the previous estimates were based on.

What some of us find quite interesting is that ravens and some other birds perform many cognitive tasks within the same range as monkeys and apes, suggesting that the “tree of intelligence” is the same firewood as Darwin’s toppled “tree of life.” And, in the end, no animals really think like people.

Less Darwin, more knowledge.

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i am confident memory is unrelated to intelligence. So animals can remember fantastically while still being unintelligent as rocks. its been a error of mankind to see memory as a sign of smarts. Case in point is "idiot savants" or retarded people generally. They easily have way above average memories but below average smarts. let they are as intelligent as everyone else in thinking because they are made in the image of God. This is why I have convinced myself that all species of retardation have nothing to do with the mind or mental operations but instead are entirely related to memory interference. Not a problem with the memory but rather with the triggering mechanism. This is also why its usually males who are most noted. Males being more motivated are more likely to trigger their memorys to great feats despite otherwise being retarded. Retardation after all is simply memory interference and shows how powerful all our memories are and how we are always using them in our intelligence. Yet they are just a tool and not the origin of intelligence. Being thinking beings is our intellectual origins. Robert Byers

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