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Sentience

June 01, 2020 - EurekAlert

Extended parenting helps young birds grow smarter

Extended parenting helps young birds grow smarter
Swan Parent with SignetsFile Photo / © Photabulous!

A new study of corvid birds underscores how biology, environment, and social life allow young birds and humans to learn difficult skills that improve survival

Humans are unusual, even among primates, in the length of our "extended childhood." Scientists think that this period of childhood and adolescence, which gives us lots of time to explore, create, and learn, is a key reason why we are smart enough to learn skills that take years to master. But humans are not the only species with an extended childhood. Elephants, some bats, whales, dolphins, and some birds - especially corvids - also have them. But does an extended childhood make other species smart too, and if so, what is the role of parenting?

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