Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 24, 2021

Australia’s Trash Parrots Invent New Skill in Suburbs

The New York Times reports

Sulfur-crested cockatoos, which may sound exotic to Americans and Europeans, are everywhere in suburban areas of Sydney. They have adapted to the human environment, and since they are known to be clever at manipulating objects it’s not entirely surprising that they went after a rich food source. But you might say that the spread of their latest trick, to open trash cans, blows the lid off social learning and cultural evolution in animals.

Not only do the birds acquire the skill by imitating others, which is social learning. But the details of technique evolve to differ in different groups as the innovation spreads, a mark of animal culture.

Read more at  Australia’s Trash Parrots Invent New Skill in Suburbs – The New York Times


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