Brown Skuas Have Facial Recognition Abilities

"Brown Skuas Have Facial Recognition Abilities "

A team of South Korean researcher has proved that brown skuas can recognize individuals by their faces.

BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Apparently having the brain of a bird no longer means that you’re stupid. A team of South Korean researchers have demonstrated that Arctic birds such as the brown skuas actually possess high cognition ability, and they are even capable of recognizing the faces of various individuals.

A team of scientists from the Inha University of South Korea has proved that Arctic birds such as the brown skua are actually very intelligent. In a recent experiment, the team led by Yeong-Deok Han, Ph.D., observed that brown skuas are capable of recognizing individual persons after extended periods of time.

It’s of little wonder that brown skuas are capable of such feats, considering the fact that these birds have their nests very close to human establishments. Previous experiments have demonstrated that other birds such as magpies, crows and mockingbirds possess similar face recognition abilities.

Most of the scientists believe that the birds evolved this ability as a result of their nest’s proximity to human settlements.

But the actual discovery of the face recognition ability was mostly accidental. Yeong-Deok, the lead researcher, said that on one occasion, a flock of brown skuas actually attacked him. The researcher declared that he and his team often visited the area of the birds. Moreover, more than once, the birds caught him tampering with their nest and eggs.

The researcher was smitten by the fact that the birds managed to recognize him even though he was dressed differently than before. He also added that no matter what he wore, the birds would still attack him.

This fact led the team to perform another experiment to see whether the birds are truly capable of recognizing individuals by their faces or not. And so, Yeong-Deok returned on several occasion to the nesting ground, each time with a couple or familiar faces and with fresh new faces.

Each time, the result was the same. The brown skua flock would charge towards the team members who visited their grounds before, ignoring the new ones.

The experiments managed to prove that brown skuas are not only intelligent, but they’ve also evolved some pretty impressive cognition capabilities. Furthermore, the researchers tend to believe that this facial recognition feature is a direct result of the nesting grounds being in the proximity of human settlements.

Their findings were published in the Animal Cognition journal on the 3rd of March. Moreover, the results also point out that there are still many things to discover about the animal kingdom. Recent projects proved once and for all that having the brain of a bird no longer means that you are stupid.

Photo credits:wikipedia