Handy crows and hiding dinos


  • Science & Technology
  • Thursday, 29 Sep 2016

An artist’s illustration of Psittacosaurus, a little dinosaur with a parrot-like beak and bristles on its tail that roamed thick forests in China about 120 million years ago. Photo: Reuters

New Caledonian crows aren’t the only ones in their species that know how to use tools. Scientists from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, have found that Hawaiian crows also use sticks and other tools to dig food from nooks and crannies.

The study of over 100 crows in San Diego Zoo Global reveals that 78% of adults, and 47% of young birds, know this nifty trick. The team also found that even baby birds that have been isolated from their parents developed this ability, indicating that the behaviour could be innate rather than learned.

An artist’s illustration of Psittacosaurus, a little dinosaur with a parrot-like beak and bristles on its tail that roamed thick forests in China about 120 million years ago. Photo: Reuters
An artist’s illustration of Psittacosaurus, a little dinosaur with a parrot-like beak and bristles on its tail that roamed thick forests in China about 120 million years ago. Photo: Reuters

D’you think he saurus?

Dinosaurs also relied on camouflage to survive, a study at University of Bristol, Britain, shows. Known as the Psittacosaurus (“parrot lizard”), the plant-eating dinosaur was the size of a golden retriever and lived 120 million years ago in China.

To determine whether the dinosaur could hide itself, the team recreated a life-size model of it – with real colour patterns, stripes and spots. They confirmed that the dinosaur camouflaged itself using “countershading” – making itself appear flat to predators.

The timeline suggests that they likely lived in dense forests, and were often surrounded by larger dinosaurs, such as the Tyrannosaurus rex.

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Handy crows and hiding dinos

   

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