2019-2020

Long-Term Studies of the Tool Behavior of Wild New Caledonian Crows

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology/Human Evolutionary Biology

On a far-flung island in the South Pacific, called New Caledonia, crows have evolved the curious habit of using pieces of vegetation as tools to extract nutritious prey from hiding places. Some groups of New Caledonian crows fashion surprisingly elaborate instruments from raw materials: they painstakingly craft hooked tools from the forked branches of particular shrubs and trees and precisely cut with their bills tapered strips from the barbed edges of screw-pine leaves. My team has been investigating the behavioral ecology of New Caledonian crows since 2005, focussing on the tool behavior of several long-term study populations.

I am looking for a research partner who is interested in helping me prepare datasets from an extensive field study for a forthcoming scientific publication. The work will involve processing of data using specialist software and requires attention to detail and excellent record keeping. This is an exciting opportunity to get hands-on experience in the processing of field-biological data, during the final stages of a complex, collaborative research project.