Adaptive bill morphology for enhanced tool manipulation in New Caledonian crows

Hiroshi Matsui, Gavin R. Hunt, Katja Oberhofer, Naomichi Ogihara, Kevin J. McGowan, Kumar Mithraratne, Takeshi Yamasaki, Russell D. Gray, Eiichi Izawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Early increased sophistication of human tools is thought to be underpinned by adaptive morphology for efficient tool manipulation. Such adaptive specialisation is unknown in nonhuman primates but may have evolved in the New Caledonian crow, which has sophisticated tool manufacture. The straightness of its bill, for example, may be adaptive for enhanced visually-directed use of tools. Here, we examine in detail the shape and internal structure of the New Caledonian crow's bill using Principal Components Analysis and Computed Tomography within a comparative framework. We found that the bill has a combination of interrelated shape and structural features unique within Corvus, and possibly birds generally. The upper mandible is relatively deep and short with a straight cutting edge, and the lower mandible is strengthened and upturned. These novel combined attributes would be functional for (i) counteracting the unique loading patterns acting on the bill when manipulating tools, (ii) a strong precision grip to hold tools securely, and (iii) enhanced visually-guided tool use. Our findings indicate that the New Caledonian crow's innovative bill has been adapted for tool manipulation to at least some degree. Early increased sophistication of tools may require the co-evolution of morphology that provides improved manipulatory skills.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22776
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 9

Fingerprint

Crows
Mandible
Hand Strength
Principal Component Analysis
Primates
Birds
Tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Matsui, H., Hunt, G. R., Oberhofer, K., Ogihara, N., McGowan, K. J., Mithraratne, K., ... Izawa, E. (2016). Adaptive bill morphology for enhanced tool manipulation in New Caledonian crows. Scientific Reports, 6, [22776]. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep22776

Adaptive bill morphology for enhanced tool manipulation in New Caledonian crows. / Matsui, Hiroshi; Hunt, Gavin R.; Oberhofer, Katja; Ogihara, Naomichi; McGowan, Kevin J.; Mithraratne, Kumar; Yamasaki, Takeshi; Gray, Russell D.; Izawa, Eiichi.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, 22776, 09.03.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Matsui, H, Hunt, GR, Oberhofer, K, Ogihara, N, McGowan, KJ, Mithraratne, K, Yamasaki, T, Gray, RD & Izawa, E 2016, 'Adaptive bill morphology for enhanced tool manipulation in New Caledonian crows', Scientific Reports, vol. 6, 22776. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep22776
Matsui H, Hunt GR, Oberhofer K, Ogihara N, McGowan KJ, Mithraratne K et al. Adaptive bill morphology for enhanced tool manipulation in New Caledonian crows. Scientific Reports. 2016 Mar 9;6. 22776. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep22776
Matsui, Hiroshi ; Hunt, Gavin R. ; Oberhofer, Katja ; Ogihara, Naomichi ; McGowan, Kevin J. ; Mithraratne, Kumar ; Yamasaki, Takeshi ; Gray, Russell D. ; Izawa, Eiichi. / Adaptive bill morphology for enhanced tool manipulation in New Caledonian crows. In: Scientific Reports. 2016 ; Vol. 6.
@article{8f514b59e7984df7aee37f3a1de5e897,
title = "Adaptive bill morphology for enhanced tool manipulation in New Caledonian crows",
abstract = "Early increased sophistication of human tools is thought to be underpinned by adaptive morphology for efficient tool manipulation. Such adaptive specialisation is unknown in nonhuman primates but may have evolved in the New Caledonian crow, which has sophisticated tool manufacture. The straightness of its bill, for example, may be adaptive for enhanced visually-directed use of tools. Here, we examine in detail the shape and internal structure of the New Caledonian crow's bill using Principal Components Analysis and Computed Tomography within a comparative framework. We found that the bill has a combination of interrelated shape and structural features unique within Corvus, and possibly birds generally. The upper mandible is relatively deep and short with a straight cutting edge, and the lower mandible is strengthened and upturned. These novel combined attributes would be functional for (i) counteracting the unique loading patterns acting on the bill when manipulating tools, (ii) a strong precision grip to hold tools securely, and (iii) enhanced visually-guided tool use. Our findings indicate that the New Caledonian crow's innovative bill has been adapted for tool manipulation to at least some degree. Early increased sophistication of tools may require the co-evolution of morphology that provides improved manipulatory skills.",
author = "Hiroshi Matsui and Hunt, {Gavin R.} and Katja Oberhofer and Naomichi Ogihara and McGowan, {Kevin J.} and Kumar Mithraratne and Takeshi Yamasaki and Gray, {Russell D.} and Eiichi Izawa",
year = "2016",
month = "3",
day = "9",
doi = "10.1038/srep22776",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
journal = "Scientific Reports",
issn = "2045-2322",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Adaptive bill morphology for enhanced tool manipulation in New Caledonian crows

AU - Matsui, Hiroshi

AU - Hunt, Gavin R.

AU - Oberhofer, Katja

AU - Ogihara, Naomichi

AU - McGowan, Kevin J.

AU - Mithraratne, Kumar

AU - Yamasaki, Takeshi

AU - Gray, Russell D.

AU - Izawa, Eiichi

PY - 2016/3/9

Y1 - 2016/3/9

N2 - Early increased sophistication of human tools is thought to be underpinned by adaptive morphology for efficient tool manipulation. Such adaptive specialisation is unknown in nonhuman primates but may have evolved in the New Caledonian crow, which has sophisticated tool manufacture. The straightness of its bill, for example, may be adaptive for enhanced visually-directed use of tools. Here, we examine in detail the shape and internal structure of the New Caledonian crow's bill using Principal Components Analysis and Computed Tomography within a comparative framework. We found that the bill has a combination of interrelated shape and structural features unique within Corvus, and possibly birds generally. The upper mandible is relatively deep and short with a straight cutting edge, and the lower mandible is strengthened and upturned. These novel combined attributes would be functional for (i) counteracting the unique loading patterns acting on the bill when manipulating tools, (ii) a strong precision grip to hold tools securely, and (iii) enhanced visually-guided tool use. Our findings indicate that the New Caledonian crow's innovative bill has been adapted for tool manipulation to at least some degree. Early increased sophistication of tools may require the co-evolution of morphology that provides improved manipulatory skills.

AB - Early increased sophistication of human tools is thought to be underpinned by adaptive morphology for efficient tool manipulation. Such adaptive specialisation is unknown in nonhuman primates but may have evolved in the New Caledonian crow, which has sophisticated tool manufacture. The straightness of its bill, for example, may be adaptive for enhanced visually-directed use of tools. Here, we examine in detail the shape and internal structure of the New Caledonian crow's bill using Principal Components Analysis and Computed Tomography within a comparative framework. We found that the bill has a combination of interrelated shape and structural features unique within Corvus, and possibly birds generally. The upper mandible is relatively deep and short with a straight cutting edge, and the lower mandible is strengthened and upturned. These novel combined attributes would be functional for (i) counteracting the unique loading patterns acting on the bill when manipulating tools, (ii) a strong precision grip to hold tools securely, and (iii) enhanced visually-guided tool use. Our findings indicate that the New Caledonian crow's innovative bill has been adapted for tool manipulation to at least some degree. Early increased sophistication of tools may require the co-evolution of morphology that provides improved manipulatory skills.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84960365037&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84960365037&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/srep22776

DO - 10.1038/srep22776

M3 - Article

C2 - 26955788

AN - SCOPUS:84960365037

VL - 6

JO - Scientific Reports

JF - Scientific Reports

SN - 2045-2322

M1 - 22776

ER -