Friday Faves March 14, 2014

Crows can wait for bigger rewards

The marshmallow task is a classic psychological paradigm (often tested on children) - would you rather have one marshmallow now - or wait and receive two marshmallows later?

Researchers examined whether crows and ravens, known for their intelligence and patience, would rather eat a treat now, or wait a period of time and exchange the treat for a more preferred food item. Their patience depended on the value of the treat, but the clever corvids showed that they exhibit a good amount of self-control. The results have just been published in the journal Animal Behaviour and you can read a summary here.

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Female birds sing too

Although research often focuses on male birdsong, turns out female songbirds have been snubbed. A recent study shows that most songbirds species also have female singers, and that when you look at the evolutionary tree of these birds relationships, that female singers were likely present in the common ancestor of all song birds.

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I hope you're not hungry right now

It's not unheard of in the insect and spider worlds for females to chow down on males of their species. What might seem a little odd is that male Grass spiders prefer to mate with a female who has cannibalized. One theory? The male can tell they've already eaten, and most females only ate one male; perhaps that means the risk of the sexually-interested male being eaten has decreased.  Read more!

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