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1 March 2014 New Caledonian Crows' (Corvus moneduloides) Pandanus Tool Designs: Diversification or Independent Invention?
Gavin R. Hunt
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New Caledonian Crows (Corvus moneduloides) manufacture the most complex foraging tools used by nonhuman animals. Not only do they shape multiple tool designs of different complexity out of raw material using distinct, design-specific manufacture techniques, they are the only species to incorporate hook technology. The three different hook tool designs that they cut out of barbed Pandanus spp. leaves are suggested to have evolved by a process of diversification through cumulative changes rather than independent invention. Here, I describe three examples of an oversized version of the so-called ‘narrow’ pandanus tool design in an area where narrow tools are also made. My observation of the way a crow used one of these oversized tools in the wild suggests that they may be efficient for foraging in especially deep probe sites. The co-occurrence of two different designs originating from a very similar manufacture technique is consistent with diversification. Furthermore, qualitative data suggest that shape variation in the three previously described pandanus tool designs might be associated with ecological function. These findings strengthen the possibility that pandanus tool designs are an example of rudimentary diversification developed in close association with functional requirements.

© Copyright 2014 by the Wilson Ornithological Society
Gavin R. Hunt "New Caledonian Crows' (Corvus moneduloides) Pandanus Tool Designs: Diversification or Independent Invention?," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 126(1), 133-139, (1 March 2014).
Received: 16 May 2013; Accepted: 1 November 2013; Published: 1 March 2014
Corvus moneduloides
cumulative change
design diversification
New Caledonian Crow
pandanus tools
tool manufacture
tool use
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