Corvus corax

| 11 Comments

Photograph by Karen Dobson.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.

Dobson.Raven.jpg

Corvus corax - common raven.

11 Comments

Nevermore!

Amazing birds. Corvids (crows, jays, magpies, daws, etc.) are some of the smartest animals around, and the common raven is up near the top of that family itself. As a group they probably knock parrots off the top slot for the title of Smartest Birds, and rank among the great apes and cetaceans in terms of intellectual capabilities and brain/body mass ratios.

One of the things I’d like to know more about is how the anatomical differences between bird and mammal brains affect their respective intellects. Whereas mammals make use of the neocortex for higher cognitive functions, birds don’t seem to have a neocortex. Instead the smartest birds use a somewhat different structure to achieve similar results. (I don’t see why an Intelligent Designer would choose to reinvent the wheel in this case. It seems to speak instead of convergence developing by natural processes.)

Dinosaurs. An idea that will fly?

Glen Davidson

Only for about 58 episodes in its original run (65 in syndication).

I wonder if birds use a structure that can fit in a smaller space than the one used by mammals?

What does he have in his mouth? I’m guessing it’s a tibia and fibula with some attached meat, but even if so, of what?

ksplawn said: …birds don’t seem to have a neocortex.…

This is interesting. I am reading (from Science Daily) that the thinking structure of bird brains is more homologous to the mammalian amygdala, which, like are cerebrum, is derived from the embryonic telencephalon. Right now one might consider this a case of convergent evolution. Would be cool to compare the fossil brain cases of early synapsid reptiles (from the ancestor line of mammals) to the brain cases of therapsid reptiles (bird lineage). Maybe the beginnings of this story can be seen there. Could someone get on that, please?

Mark Sturtevant said:

ksplawn said: …birds don’t seem to have a neocortex.…

This is interesting. I am reading (from Science Daily) that the thinking structure of bird brains is more homologous to the mammalian amygdala, which, like are cerebrum, is derived from the embryonic telencephalon. Right now one might consider this a case of convergent evolution. Would be cool to compare the fossil brain cases of early synapsid reptiles (from the ancestor line of mammals) to the brain cases of therapsid reptiles (bird lineage). Maybe the beginnings of this story can be seen there. Could someone get on that, please?

Ah, therapsids are a subset of synapsids. Perhaps you meant diapsid and combined it with theropod.

Helluva picture by the way. Can’t believe my damselfly beat it out.

Can’t believe my damselfly beat it out.

It didn’t. This picture is from several years ago, and I do not remember exactly why it was not a finalist, but I think the focus is a little “soft.” Still, a splendid picture.

Matt Young said:

Can’t believe my damselfly beat it out.

It didn’t. This picture is from several years ago, and I do not remember exactly why it was not a finalist, but I think the focus is a little “soft.” Still, a splendid picture.

Thanks for the kind words Matt. I took that photo at a rest stop on the side of the road in Alaska. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Karen

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on November 25, 2013 12:00 PM.

Lenski’s experiment: 25 years and 58,000 generations was the previous entry in this blog.

Freshwater: Motion for reconsideration filed is the next entry in this blog.

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