Friday, September 23, 2011
Novel Notes: Of Creativity and Corvids
Although my usual schedule for this blog is a Monday-Wednesday posting, I just had to share this fabulous example of creative problem solving with all of you.
It's no secret that I'm a lover of the scientific family Corvidae (the group containing ravens, crows, and magpies). They're an incredibly intelligent group of birds with the ability to make tools, to mimic a vast array of sounds, and to recognize themselves in mirrors (self awareness!). They are also, in my humble opinion, the definitive creative problem solvers of the class Aves.
For those of you not familiar with this concept, creative problem solving is a process whereby a problem is solved using innovation rather than well-established solutions. Examples of such problem solving are (1) using a paperclip as a replacement for a broken zipper pull, (2) hiding vegetable purees in the meal of a finicky eater, (3) almost any situation involving duct tape. Think MacGyver, people.
We humans engage in creative problem solving on a pretty regular basis (but perhaps not as often as we should). We're used to finding alternative means to get something we want. Want to hear something amazing? Crows, magpies, and jays can do the same thing!
Just look at this video:
Now, these birds have been trained. But, there are plenty of examples of corvids doing similarly incredible things in the wild. Some crows in Japan, for example, have been caught dropping walnuts into busy intersections so that heavy cars can do the cracking for them!
Don't be outdone by a bird!
What kinds of problems have you solved creatively?