The ecological cultural and cognitive context of tool use in New Caledonian crows

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Zoology

Abstract

Humans are weird animals. We communicate with a sophisticated language, we make and use tools to transform and exploit the environment, we share knowledge and information with our peers, and we build societies of astonishing complexity. Defining 'intelligence' is a contentious topic, but most would agree that humans are equipped with unsurpassed brain powers -- an observation that only too often leads to an exaggerated perception of 'human uniqueness'. But, what exactly was it that sent us on our unusual evolutionary trajectory? Was it particular ecological circumstances that facilitated one or several key adaptations, like language or tool use, and what role did these traits play in the evolution of culture? It is reasonable to assume that, ceteris paribus, the use of tools and the accumulation of knowledge would have conferred advantages to individuals or groups in other species, yet these traits, and especially their joint presence, are exceedingly rare in the animal kingdom. There are only two species for which cultural transmission of tool technology has been suggested: chimpanzees and, my study subject, the New Caledonian crow. These crows live on a remote Pacific island, where they use tools for extracting grubs from holes and crevices. They use at least three distinct tool types, including the most sophisticated animal tool design yet discovered, and they may even culturally transmit, and progressively refine, aspects of their tool technology (some tools vary in shape). Humans are masters at accumulating cultural information over generations, as evidenced by everyday items like watches or bicycles, not to mention computers or space shuttles. No single person could design and manufacture any of these objects from scratch. We build on the technological heritage of our ancestors, and research suggests it may be this capacity that made our species such an evolutionary success story. In New Caledonia, I investigate how wild crow societies are organised, how juveniles learn their skills, and how much of these birds' daily diet is obtained with tools. I also explore whether there is anything special about these birds' home island that might explain their unusual adaptations. In fact, they may provide a unique window into our own evolutionary past, permitting rare glimpses of what factors may have driven the evolution of tool use and culture in our ancestors. But studying these crows in the wild is not easy, because they are shy and live in dense forest where visibility is limited. My team has developed tiny, animal-borne video cameras that broadcast TV-quality, colour video. These cameras are mounted on a crow's tail, and peek forward through the legs to produce a crow's-eye view of the world. As we recently reported in Science, this novel technology enabled us to hitch a ride with wild crows and obtain intimate insights into their daily lives. It has already changed our understanding of this species' foraging ecology, and it will play a key role in our future work. I complement my fieldwork with controlled experiments with captive crows: (1) to probe their cognitive capabilities (Do they understand basic physical principles? Are they smarter than other animals?); (2) to examine whether they can imitate tutors (the mechanism that would support the cultural transmission of tool technology); and (3) to explore the genetic, social and environmental contributions to the production of particular tool shapes (Do wild-caught adult crows faithfully produce certain tool shapes, and what shapes do cross-fostered juveniles produce?). In the end, I hope my research will produce a much clearer picture of how 'intelligent' these birds really are, and how their unusual behaviour evolved in the first place. It has recently been suggested that Homo floresiensis could not have been a tool user because of its small brain. New Caledonian crows disprove this, and my study of this species may shed further light on our evolutionary roots.

Technical Summary

The New Caledonian crow (NC crow; Corvus moneduloides) is endemic to a remote, tropical island in the South Pacific, where it habitually uses tools for extracting invertebrate prey from holes and crevices. NC crows are the most prolific avian tool users, and the sophistication of their tool technology rivals, and in some aspects outshines, even that observed in chimpanzees. NC crows manufacture their own tools, their tools have complex shapes, they use at least three different tool types, and they possess the ability to solve novel problems through innovation of new tool designs. Perhaps most intriguingly, one tool type (strips cut from the edges of serrated leaves) varies in shape and complexity across the island of New Caledonia; it has been suggested that the observed pattern may reflect a single technological invention that was followed by geographical spread, with progressive refinement of the original tool design. I propose a project with three major themes. THEME 1 explores the ecological relevance of tool use in wild NC crows. A suite of novel observation tools (animal-borne video cameras; stable-isotope profiling) will enable me to estimate individual-level tool-use dependence, and its ecological and social correlates. This work focuses on the adaptive significance of tool use and may help unravel this trait's evolutionary roots. THEME 2 examines the genetic, social and environmental contributions to the production of particular tool shapes with captive subjects (cross-fostering and social-learning experiments) and social-transmission dynamics in wild populations (use of vocal dialects to identify transmission modes; social-network analysis to study information flow). Finally, THEME 3 investigates whether the species' tool-use behaviour is associated with an unusual level of general intelligence ('folk physics' experiments) and/or with particular neurological adaptations (brain anatomy; interspecific cross-fostering).

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Biro D (2013) Tool use as adaptation. in Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences

publication icon
Brakes P (2019) Animal cultures matter for conservation. in Science (New York, N.Y.)

publication icon
Kenward B (2011) On the evolutionary and ontogenetic origins of tool-oriented behaviour in New Caledonian crows (). in Biological journal of the Linnean Society. Linnean Society of London

publication icon
Kenward RE (2011) Identifying governance strategies that effectively support ecosystem services, resource sustainability, and biodiversity. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

publication icon
Krause J (2013) Reality mining of animal social systems. in Trends in ecology & evolution

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
BB/G023913/1 01/09/2009 01/06/2012 £1,148,366
BB/G023913/2 Transfer BB/G023913/1 02/06/2012 01/09/2015 £563,653
 
Description IMPORTANT NOTE: In 2012, I transferred my group from Oxford to St Andrews; as a result of this move, my grant (BB/G023913/1) was assigned a new reference number (BB/G023913/2). For an answer to this question (covering the entire grant period: 2009 to 2015, including a 1-year no-cost extension), please see my ResearchFish return for BB/G023913/2.
Exploitation Route IMPORTANT NOTE: In 2012, I transferred my group from Oxford to St Andrews; as a result of this move, my grant (BB/G023913/1) was assigned a new reference number (BB/G023913/2). For an answer to this question (covering the entire grant period: 2009 to 2015, including a 1-year no-cost extension), please see my ResearchFish return for BB/G023913/2.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Electronics,Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description IMPORTANT NOTE: In 2012, I transferred my group from Oxford to St Andrews; as a result of this move, my grant (BB/G023913/1) was assigned a new reference number (BB/G023913/2). For an answer to this question (covering the entire grant period: 2009 to 2015, including a 1-year no-cost extension), please see my ResearchFish return for BB/G023913/2.
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Electronics,Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Expert Scientific Adviser, for the "Bonn Convention" (CMS, United Nations Environment Programme)
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact - senior and co-corresponding author on high-profile publication in SCIENCE in 2019, making the case for international policy change (wildlife conservation), for formal consideration at the 2020 CMS Conference of the Parties in India - approval of a "Concerted Action" amongst CMS range states, at the 2020 CMS Conference of the Parties in India, to protect chimpanzee 'cultures' in Western Africa
URL http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6431/1032.summary
 
Description Exploration Grant
Amount $29,947 (USD)
Funding ID NGS-61945R-20 
Organisation National Geographic 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 05/2020 
End 04/2021
 
Description Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund Award (to showcase fellowship research at the 2017 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition)
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of St Andrews 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 03/2018
 
Description PhD studentship
Amount £69,960 (GBP)
Organisation University of St Andrews 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 08/2021
 
Description Radcliffe Fellowship
Amount $82,500 (USD)
Organisation Harvard University 
Department Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Sector Academic/University
Country United States
Start 09/2019 
End 05/2020
 
Description Mariana crow foraging ecology 
Organisation San Diego Zoo Global
Country United States 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution help with designing experimental and observation protocols, informed by long-term research on New Caledonian crows
Collaborator Contribution in charge of the Mariana crow species recovery programme
Impact work in progress
Start Year 2019
 
Description Mariana crow foraging ecology 
Organisation Washington State University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution help with designing experimental and observation protocols, informed by long-term research on New Caledonian crows
Collaborator Contribution in charge of the Mariana crow species recovery programme
Impact work in progress
Start Year 2019
 
Description animal social networks 
Organisation Humboldt University of Berlin
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution collaborated on the writing of a major review article
Collaborator Contribution collaborated on the writing of a major review article
Impact - Krause J, Krause S, Arlinghaus R, Psorakis I, Roberts S, and Rutz C (2013). Reality mining of animal social systems. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28: 541-551.
Start Year 2012
 
Description animal-borne proximity loggers 
Organisation University of Washington
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution conducted field study on social-network dynamics in New Caledonian crows
Collaborator Contribution developed proximity-logging technology (Encounternet), which was subsequently adapted in collaboration for our field study
Impact - Rutz C, Burns ZT, James R, Ismar S, Burt J, Otis B, Bowen J, and St Clair JJH (2012). Automated mapping of social networks in wild birds. Current Biology 22: R669-R671. - Rutz C, Morrissey MB, Burns ZT, Burt J, Otis B, St Clair JJH, and James R (2015). Calibrating animal-borne proximity loggers. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 6: 656-667. - St Clair JJH, Burns ZT, Bettaney EM, Morrissey MB, Otis B, Ryder TB, Fleischer RC, James R, and Rutz C (2015). Experimental resource pulses influence social-network dynamics and the potential for information flow in tool-using crows. Nature Communications 6: 7197.
Start Year 2010
 
Description animal-borne video cameras 
Organisation University of Exeter
Department College of Life and Environmental Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution co-developed and used novel animal-borne video cameras to study the behaviour of wild New Caledonian crows
Collaborator Contribution co-developed and used novel animal-borne video cameras to study the behaviour of wild New Caledonian crows
Impact - Rutz C, and Troscianko J (2013). Programmable, miniature video-loggers for deployment on wild birds and other wildlife. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 4: 114-122. - Troscianko J, and Rutz C (2015). Activity profiles and hook-tool use of New Caledonian crows recorded by bird-borne video cameras. Biology Letters 11: 20150777.
 
Description carrion crow vocalisations 
Organisation University of León
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution help with project design; contribution of tracking expertise
Collaborator Contribution in charge of running the field project
Impact work in progress
Start Year 2017
 
Description contribution to Vertebrate Genomes Project 
Organisation Rockefeller University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution contributed high-quality blood samples of wild New Caledonian crows
Collaborator Contribution Vertebrate Genomes Project
Impact work in progress
Start Year 2018
 
Description craniofacial morphology of extinct birds 
Organisation Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise gained during long-term research on New Caledonian crows
Collaborator Contribution expertise on extinct birds
Impact work in progress
Start Year 2020
 
Description population genetics 
Organisation Smithsonian Institution
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution collected blood samples from wild New Caledonian crows for genetic analyses
Collaborator Contribution conducted lab-analyses of these samples
Impact - Rutz C, Ryder TB, and Fleischer RC (2012). Restricted gene flow and fine-scale population structuring in tool using New Caledonian crows. Naturwissenschaften 99: 313-320. - St Clair JJH, Burns ZT, Bettaney EM, Morrissey MB, Otis B, Ryder TB, Fleischer RC, James R, and Rutz C (2015). Experimental resource pulses influence social-network dynamics and the potential for information flow in tool-using crows. Nature Communications 6: 7197.
Start Year 2010
 
Description raven social networks 
Organisation University of Vienna
Country Austria 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution help with project design; contribution of tracking expertise
Collaborator Contribution in charge of running the field project
Impact work in progress
Start Year 2017
 
Description social-network analyses 
Organisation University of Bath
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution collection of empirical data on social-network dynamics of New Caledonian crows
Collaborator Contribution contributions to the analysis of these data
Impact - Bettaney E, James R, St Clair JJH, and Rutz C (2015). Processing and visualising association data from animal-borne proximity loggers. Animal Biotelemetry 3: 27. - Rutz C, Burns ZT, James R, Ismar S, Burt J, Otis B, Bowen J, and St Clair JJH (2012). Automated mapping of social networks in wild birds. Current Biology 22: R669-R671. - Rutz C, Morrissey MB, Burns ZT, Burt J, Otis B, St Clair JJH, and James R (2015). Calibrating animal-borne proximity loggers. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 6: 656-667. - St Clair JJH, Burns ZT, Bettaney EM, Morrissey MB, Otis B, Ryder TB, Fleischer RC, James R, and Rutz C (2015). Experimental resource pulses influence social-network dynamics and the potential for information flow in tool-using crows. Nature Communications 6: 7197.
Start Year 2011
 
Description stable-isotope profiling 
Organisation University of Exeter
Department College of Life and Environmental Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution collected field data to estimate the diet composition of New Caledonian crows
Collaborator Contribution analysis of tissue samples using stable-isotope profiling techniques
Impact - Rutz C, Bluff LA, Reed N, Troscianko J, Newton J, Inger R, Kacelnik A, and Bearhop S (2010). The ecological significance of tool use in New Caledonian crows. Science 329: 1523-1526.
Start Year 2006
 
Description visual field analysis 
Organisation University of Birmingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution measurement and analysis of visual fields in several corvid species
Collaborator Contribution assistance with the measurement and analysis of visual fields in several corvid species
Impact - Troscianko J, von Bayern AMP, Chappell J, Rutz C*, and Martin G (2012). Extreme binocular vision and a straight bill facilitate tool use in New Caledonian crows. Nature Communications 3: 1110. [*joint senior author]
Start Year 2009
 
Description weaver social networks 
Organisation University of Exeter
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution contribution of tracking equipment (Encounternet), and proximity-logging expertise
Collaborator Contribution in charge of running the field project
Impact work in progress
Start Year 2016
 
Title development of novel bio-logging device (miniature video cameras) 
Description my team has developed video cameras that are so small (ca. 12 g) that they can be attached to wild birds, to obtain a bird's-eye view of the world; this enables unprecedented insights into avian behaviour, ecology, physiology and conservation threats 
Type Of Technology Systems, Materials & Instrumental Engineering 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact our camera technology has revolutionised the way field biologists are studying birds (and other animals) in their natural habitats; following publication of our breakthrough in SCIENCE (2007), and of a subsequent methods paper in METHODS IN ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION (2013), research groups around the world have started emulating our techniques, building similar camera systems to study a wide range of bird species; my pioneering work in this field has been recognised with a string of national and international awards (see separate entries); I have recently been nominated (unsolicited) for a BBSRC Innovator of the Year Award 
 
Title pioneering use of novel bio-logging device (miniature proximity loggers) 
Description I have led the team that deployed -- for the first time worldwide -- miniature proximity loggers (ca. 10 g) on wild birds, to study their social-network dynamics; while the basic hard- and software had been developed by US-based collaborators, my input into the final design of tags and receiver stations, and my team's extensive work on system calibration, refinement and field deployment, were key to establishing this groundbreaking new methodology 
Type Of Technology Systems, Materials & Instrumental Engineering 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact our innovative use of this technology is changing the way biologists are studying interactions between animals in the wild, inlcuding social-network and predator-prey dynamics; my papers in CURRENT BIOLOGY (2012) and NATURE COMMUNICATIONS (2015) have attracted considerable attention; my pioneering work in this field has been recognised with a string of national and international awards (see separate entries); I have recently been nominated (unsolicited) for a BBSRC Innovator of the Year Award 
 
Description article on BBC News (online) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact coverage of my 2012 paper in CURRENT BIOLOGY

public engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description brief talk at a public birdwatching event (Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact brief talk at a public birdwatching event (Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.eagletribune.com/news/merrimack_valley/visit-of-crows-to-lawrence-fascinates-researchers...
 
Description coverage of paper in SCIENCE 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact coverage of our 2019 paper in SCIENCE; the paper was covered by several news stories, viewed by almost 15,000 readers in 2 weeks, and reached >1.8 million Twitter users
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.altmetric.com/details/56070372
 
Description crow tools exhibited in major museum exhibition; Berlin, Germany 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public engagement; stimulating discussion with members of the audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.kulturtechnik.hu-berlin.de/en/bwg/clusterausstellung/
 
Description extensive media coverage of paper in BIOLOGY LETTERS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact coverage of our 2015 paper in BIOLOGY LETTERS; the paper had significant international media impact, achieving an Altmetric Score of 355, which makes it one of the journal's highest-ranking papers of all time
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.altmetric.com/details/4916110
 
Description extensive media coverage of paper in ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact coverage of our 2016 paper in ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE; the paper had significant international media impact, achieving an Altmetric Score of 442
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.altmetric.com/details/10368014
 
Description in-depth interview with NEW SCIENTIST 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact the NEW SCIENTIST is planning to cover my BBSRC-funded research on New Caledonian crows in a forthcoming feature article
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description interview for ST ANDREWS IN FOCUS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact interview with a local magazine, to explain my BBSRC-funded research to local non-academic audiences; I have received enthusiastic feedback about this
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description interview for feature in RADCLIFFE MAGAZINE (forthcoming) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact forthcoming article about my research career to date, and my work at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (2019-2020)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description interview for feature in SCIENCE SCOTLAND 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact feature-length article that resulted from an interview; published in a Special Issue of SCIENCE SCOTLAND, to highlight outstanding work by Members of the Young Academy of Scotland
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description interview on Ray Brown's "Talkin' Birds" radio show (forthcoming) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact forthcoming interview on Ray Brown's "Talkin' Birds" -- a radio show and podcast about birds, bird watching and conservation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.talkinbirds.com/
 
Description invited evening lecture (Botanical Society of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact invited evening lecture, Botanical Society of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland (15.12.2018)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description invited participant, Workshop "Technology for Conservation: Protecting Animals in the Wild", London, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact invited participant, Workshop "Technology for Conservation: Protecting Animals in the Wild", London, UK (27.-28.09.2018)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description invited speaker and panel member, WILDLABS webinar on "Next-Gen Wildlife Tracking" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact invited speaker and panel member, WILDLABS webinar on "Next-Gen Wildlife Tracking" (20.11.2018)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description invited talk, Rota Avian Behavioral Ecology Program, Rota, Northern Mariana Islands 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact invited talk, Rota Avian Behavioral Ecology Program, Rota, Northern Mariana Islands (08.03.2019)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description live interview on BBC (ONE) BREAKFAST 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact interview related to our exhibit at the 2017 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition (see separate entry)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description news item in SCIENCE 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact coverage of our 2016 paper in ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description on-screen expert for movie about crows (forthcoming) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact hosted a film crew for 10 days in 2019 at my long-term field site in New Caledonia, so they could document my team's research for a forthcoming movie on the age-old relationship between crows and humans (for international cinema release in 2021)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description podcast interview with journal SCIENCE 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact my 2010 SCIENCE paper (title: The ecological significance of tool use in New Caledonian crows) was selected by the Editors of SCIENCE for special coverage in a podcast interview; the paper was also covered widely by the national and international press

multiple follow-up enquiries from the media, members of the public and fellow scientists
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description public award lecture (British Science Festival) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award, British Science Association; title of the award lecture, which was delivered at the 2014 British Science Festival in Birmingham: Of crafty crows and space shuttles: Animal tool use as a window into human technological evolution; 10.09.2014; lecture sparked questions and discussion afterwards; received extremely positive written feedback that demonstrated a positive impact on the audience (44 survey respondents; data collected and held by the British Science Association)

44 members of the audience filled-in feedback forms provided by the BSA; in response to the question "Overall how would you rate this event?", 42 replied 'excellent', 1 replied 'good', and one did not reply; in response to the statement "I feel I have learnt something new", 41 stated 'strongly agree', 2 stated 'agree', and one did not reply
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description public engagement event in New Caledonia, to explain crow research to local communities (posters and hands-on activities for children) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public engagement event in New Caledonia, to explain crow research to local communities (posters and hands-on activities for children); received excellent feedback
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description public engagement event in New Caledonia, to explain crow research to local communities (posters and hands-on activities for children) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public engagement event in New Caledonia, to explain crow research to local communities (posters and hands-on activities for children)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description public lecture (Christmas Lecture, Curious Minds Series, 150th Anniversary of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science, Perth, UK) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.psns.org.uk/programme/
 
Description public lecture (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, USA) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description public lecture (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, USA) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/video/crafty-crows-christian-rutz
 
Description public lecture (Scotland's Bird Club, St Andrews, UK) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description public lecture as part of a major museum exhibition; Berlin, Germany 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.kulturtechnik.hu-berlin.de/en/bwg/clusterausstellung/
 
Description public lecture in New Caledonia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I gave a public lecture in Bourail, New Caledonia, to tell local communities about our BBSRC-funded research on New Caledonian crows; the lecture was very well received, led to great discussions on the night, and resulted in productive long-term engagement of a wide range of local interest groups; two attendees told me about their crow observations, which led to a small citizen-science project that was recently published:

- St Clair JJH, Klump BC, van der Wal JEM, Sugasawa S, and Rutz C (2016). Strong between-site variation in New Caledonian crows' use of hook-tool-making materials. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 118: 226-232.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description public science exhibition (2017 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact showcased fellowship research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2017/summer-science-exhibition/exhibits/crafty-...
 
Description public science exhibition (BBSRC Great British Bioscience Festival, London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact exhibition at the Great British Bioscience Festival (GBBF), to celebrate BBSRC's 20-year anniversary; 14.-16.11.2014, London (exhibit subsequently shown at Edinburgh Zoo)

public engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description public science exhibition (Edinburgh Zoo) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact re-use of the 'Animal Cultures' exhibit for BBSRC's Great British Bioscience Festival

public engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description talk, Culture Conference, Stirling, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact knowledge exchange; research dissemination; building of collaborative links
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description top-story of research highlights in journal NATURE 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact coverage of our 2012 paper in NATURE COMMUNICATIONS

multiple follow-up enquiries
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012