Field of Science

Do you have the memory of a crow?

It appears that humans aren't the only ones with exceptionally good long-term memory. Crows not only remember individual faces over long periods of time and even seem to be able to communicate to other crows information about the people in question.

That animals, especially birds, have good memories is not all that surprising. That they remember human faces so well is striking.

There is an ongoing debate in the literature about whether the fact that humans are so good at processing faces is because we have specialized neural circuitry for human faces. Given that humans are an intensely social species, it would make sense for us to develop special face-recognition systems. It remains to be seen just how good crow memory for human faces is (the study in question is limited in some ways), but if their human face perception is very good, that would call for a very interesting explanation.

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