Crows hate cavemen

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Stephanie Pappas reports on experiments with social learning in crows.

To ensure that crows were responding to their faces and not to their clothes, binoculars or some other ornithologist cue, the scientists wore different masks while trapping birds at each site. The masks included a caveman, Dick Cheney and several custom-made realistic faces.

OK, so the researchers wearing caveman masks were trapping and banding crows, and checking out whether the birds remember their faces.

. In February, Marzluff said, he ventured out of his office in a mask he'd worn five years earlier while trapping seven birds. "I got about 50 meters [165 feet] out of my office and I had about 50 birds on me, scolding me," he said. "I hadn't worn that mask on campus for a year."

Further experiments establish that the crows learn socially which faces are enemies by observing other crows scolding at them.