Study: Chickens are smarter than thought

Nov 15, 2006

Australian scientists have discovered chickens are far more sophisticated in communicating than has been thought.

Chris Evans and his wife, Linda -- both from Macquarie University -- played food calls to adult golden Sebright bantam hens. Rather than simply celebrating the discovery of food, the equivalent of a "hooray", the scientists discovered the high-pitched sound the birds uttered means "here is some food" -- setting an example of representational signaling, The London Telegraph reported.

In tests on 17 birds, the researchers also discovered the hens have nuances for a given call, producing them at a higher rate if the food is highly preferred.

"To the extent that our attitudes toward animals are shaped by their perceived mental life, such findings should be thought-provoking," Chris Evans told The Telegraph, noting the cleverness of chickens goes further than the 20 or more calls they can make. For example, he said chickens live in stable social groups and can recognize each other by facial features.

The study appears in the journal Biology Letters.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Honey bees sting Texas man about 1,000 times

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Food poisoning bug feasts on sugar-coated temptation

Jan 22, 2014

It is the bug that contaminates raw meat and the commonest cause of food poisoning. The Campylobacter jejuni bacteria is one of the reasons why we are told to make sure our meat, particularly chicken, is ...

Recommended for you

Monkeys fear big cats less, eat more, with humans around

23 minutes ago

Some Monkeys in South Africa have been found to regard field scientists as human shields against predators and why not if the alternative is death by leopard? The researchers found the monkeys felt far safer ...

Study indicates large raptors in Africa used for bushmeat

13 hours ago

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates ...

The microbes make the sake brewery

14 hours ago

A sake brewery has its own microbial terroir, meaning the microbial populations found on surfaces in the facility resemble those found in the product, creating the final flavor according to research published ahead of print ...

Fighting bacteria—with viruses

15 hours ago

Research published today in PLOS Pathogens reveals how viruses called bacteriophages destroy the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which is becoming a serious problem in hospitals and healthcare institutes, due to its re ...

User comments : 0