Ontogeny of object permanence in a non-storing corvid species, the jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the ontogeny of object permanence in a non-caching corvid species, the jackdaw (Corvus monedula). Jackdaws are often presented as typical examples of non-storing corvids, as they cache either very little or not at all. We used Uzgiris and Hunt’s Scale 1 tasks to determine the age at which the certain stages set in and the final stage of this capacity that is reached. Our results show that the lack of food-storing behaviour is not associated with inferior object permanence abilities in the jackdaw, as our subjects (N = 19) have reached stage 5 competence (to follow successive visible displacements) at the average age of 61 days post-hatch and showed some evidence of stage 6 competence (to follow advanced invisible displacements) at 81 days post-hatch and thereafter. As we appreciate that object permanence abilities have a very wide ecological significance, our positive results are probably the consequence of other, more fundamental ecological pressures, such as nest-hole reproduction or prey–predator interactions.
KeywordsObject permanence Jackdaw Ontogeny Non-storing Corvids
The authors wish to thank the Jackdaws for their kind and willing cooperation, the Aktion Österreich-Ungarn for financial support of this project, Prof. Dr. Kurt Kotrschal, Bruna Bonechi, Christine Pribersky-Schwab, Julian Hoskowitz and all the KLF staff for their invaluable support, and Zsuzsánna Horváth and Gabriella Lakatos for her help with statistical analysis and valuable criticism of the manuscript. The jackdaw project at KLF was funded by FWF-Project P16939-B03. All experiments were conducted in accordance with animal welfare regulations of both Austria and Hungary. Last but not least, we are most grateful to our three anonymous referees, who have been kind enough to share their expertise and insight with us in order to improve our manuscript.
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