Study Finds Crows To Be Capable of Recursion — A Cognitive Ability Thought To Be Unique To Humans And Other Primates

Crows are some of the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom. According to a new study, crows possess the cognitive ability for one of the linguistic elements that make human language so complex. The insult 'birdbrain' probably stems from the misconception that birds possess little to no intelligence since they have very tiny, nut-sized brains. But this age-old analogy couldn't be further from the truth, considering how savvy these creatures have proven themselves to be.

In the early 2000s, Noam Chomsky and other linguists thought that if there was one thing that belonged specifically to human language, it was recursion, and that this was what distinguished human language from animal communication. As it turns out, this is not the case: a 2020 study proved that rhesus monkeys can do the thing too, and a newly published study shows that crows can also do recursion.