Monday, December 15, 2008

Know any synanthropes?

Posted by: Ric Brewer, Communications

Consider this your "word of the day." Synanthropes are defined as animals that have adapted to human environments. These would include crows, rats, opossums, raccoons...you get the idea! Recently, a student performed his master's thesis on wild crows that made their home on the grounds of a south-central New York state zoo. The student designed a vending machine that would dispense peanuts when the crows pushed coins into a slot. The wily crows soon caught on, realizing that when they put coins in, food came out. Slowly the coins were removed which prompted the black birds to start scouring the zoo grounds for loose coins. The experiment was so successful that the student founded the Synanthropy Foundation in order to study synanthropic behavior in other animals. Now if my cat would just learn to make me breakfast...

2 comments:

  1. Ooh! I saw that guy talking about his crow project on a TED talk!

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/joshua_klein_on_the_intelligence_of_crows.html

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  2. If only my two cats could work together to reset the Roomba when it gets stuck!

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