Empathy is For the Birds Too

Many birds are highly social and very intelligent, two traits that might be prerequisites for empathy. Although very little is known about empathy in birds, (read our previous article here) there is some tantalizing evidence that it exists. New research has documented what many bird watchers have known for decades; ravens apparently console their friends after an aggressive conflict with a flockmate.  To flesh out this topic, a team of researchers at the University of Vienna, Orlaith Fraser, a postdoc, and her co-author, Thomas Bugnyar, a teaching fellow, decided to investigate further. They chose to study the Common Raven.

Of the findings, Dr Fraser writers,”The findings of this study represent an important step towards understanding how ravens manage their social relationships and balance the costs of group-living. Furthermore, they suggest that ravens may be responsive to the emotional needs of others.”

To read the entire exciting study, head over to my favorite grrlscientist blog