When Clinton Francis, a specialist in bird behavior, challenged student Wren Thompson to find out how many types of birds use deceit in their defences against predators of their nests, he hardly expected to find that the number she was able to discover was 285 …
Deceit strategies are found in a number of different bird groups. Here’s one example:
The birds themselves are not agents making a moral choice to deceive; they are carrying out a behavior pattern they have inherited.
But how did it get started? It’s hardly clear how, in the absence of abstract thought, birds develop a behavior pattern of deception and then pass it on to their offspring.
You may also wish to read: The intelligence birds and bees naturally have — and we don’t. An exploration of the stunning findings in Eric Cassell’s new book, “Animal Algorithms.” Cassell observes that it would take deep thought and sophisticated design techniques to build a robot to accomplish what the bees, ants and termites can do.