Crows often limit their social members of their immediate family interactions, but when they need to expand their relations convey useful knowledge for food.
British scientists at the University of St Andrews suggest that crows are able to expand their social networks to facilitate the spread of cultural traits such as the use of tools.
The researchers, who report their findings in “Nature Communications”, studied the behavior of New Caledonian crows, a species known for its ability to use twigs to poke holes in the bark on the trees in search of insects.
It is believed that this ability is transmitted to other crows from observation, while learning depends on the social structure of the group and the interactions among its members.
James St. Clair and his group have used wireless transmission apparatus to continue for 19 days to a population of crows in which live different families, and found that most of the relationships between individuals in the group to birds that share limited gene.
However, when a food source that requires the use of tools appears, the ties between the community and increase rapidly as people who until then were not related to each other begin to interact is observed.
This behavior seems to be limited to the same group of birds, according to scientists, they also introduced a food source halfway between two sets of crows without getting both straitened ties.
“Social dynamics have profound implications for processes such as the flow of information, but are very difficult to measure in nature, so we used a new technology transmitters to record the behavior patterns of crows,” says the study published in Nature Communications.
“We have shown that social structure responds quickly to environmental changes and new information can spread rapidly in communities where several families live,” the work that highlights the “surprisingly limited contact between neighboring communities crows”.