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Departmental Colloquium: Testing social cognition in non-human animals: lessons from ravens

Thomas Bugnyar
Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Social life has been proposed as a driving factor for the evolution of cognition in humans and non-human animals. From a biological point of view, key aspects of this intuitive hypothesis are still poorly understood. From a human perspective, studies on closely related non-human primates can inform us about the evolutionary origin of human-specific traits, while studies on distantly related animals may inform us about the selection pressures leading to such traits. In this talk, I focus on the latter and review what we know about the social life and socio-cognitive skills in a large-brained bird, the common raven. I argue that ravens are an excellent model for integrating different levels of analysis and for combining questions of social cognition with those