Legends say that crows are the harbingers of death. This belief is accepted in many cultures, giving the otherwise intelligent birds a negative connotation in human consciousness. Even if the majority of people in our present day pay little heed to such superstitions, it turns out that our ancestors actually had good reason to believe that crows had some connection with death.
A study by researchers from the University of Washington has proven that crows are much more sensitive to death than any other form of life. The experts measured the brain activity of the feathered animals while showing them dead birds. The received images showed that the hippocampus, the part of the brain that plays a role in forming memories, literally lit up at the sight of death.
After extensive studies, researchers also found that crows have almost unbelievable memories. Domesticated crows especially were able to perfectly recognize the body and face of their master.
They even have a special type of signaling they use to warn one another when it's close to the next feeding time. An even more fascinating discovery was that these birds managed to somehow pass on this knowledge to the next generation.
Scientists found that crows reacted extremely emotionally when they witnessed a dead member of their own kind. Experts are trying to determine what the reason is for this strange animal behavior through a series of brain tests.
Researchers have even proven that crows mourn when one of their flock dies. They explain this strange occurrence by the fact that birds are social creatures; partners are for life in their case.
"Despite their notoriety, crows are exceptionally loving animals. We even observed how the birds placed sticks and other objects on their deceased brethren, as a sort of funeral ceremony, " explains Dr. Darryl Dyer from the University of Washington.
The crow's brain is large. They are equally as intelligent as the smartest mammals, such as dolphins and primates. These birds can solve problems they're given that few other creatures can, studies show.
But that which most puzzled scientists was these birds' ability to not only discern death but to also sense its coming. Dyer postulates that crows have super perceptions for symptoms that are invisible to others and that have a lethal end. Research in this field continues.