Brief Communications

Nature 414, 707 (13 December 2001) | doi:10.1038/414707a

Laterality in tool manufacture by crows

Gavin R. Hunt1, Michael C. Corballis1 & Russell D. Gray1

New Caledonian crows (Fig. 1) fashion tapered tools from either the left or the right edge of the long narrow leaves of pandanus trees or screw pines1, 2, which they use to extract invertebrates in rainforest vegetation2. Although right-handedness is thought to be uniquely human3, we show here that crows from different localities display a widespread laterality in making their tools, indicating that this behaviour is unlikely to be attributable to local social traditions or ecological factors. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of species-level laterality in manipulatory skills outside humans.

  1. Department of Psychology, University of Auckland, Auckland 92019, New Zealand

Correspondence to: Gavin R. Hunt1 e-mail: Email: grhunt10@hotmail.com