Zoologists have found that birds have self-control and that it is associated with high intelligence

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from the University of Cambridge have found that highly intelligent Eurasian jays have good self-control similar results have previously been obtained for humans.

Jays Garrulus glandarius are representatives of the corvid family, which are often called “feathered monkeys” for their high intelligence.

Corvids have been known to hide food, saving it for the future. The researchers speculated that this feature may have contributed to the evolution of self-control in these birds.

The scientists designed an experiment inspired by the 1972 Stanford Marshmallow Test, in which children were given the choice between one marshmallow immediately or two marshmallows a few minutes later.

Instead of marshmallows, the jays were offered their favorite treat (mealworms) a few minutes later, or bread and cheese right now.

All birds in the experiment waited for the mealworm. Jay J-Lo turned out to be the best, who waited for a treat for five minutes (the authors of the work note that they themselves were tired of waiting for the bird to break), and the worst were Dolci and Homer, who waited only 20 seconds. The best birds then received the highest scores on intelligence tests.

The jays averted their gaze from bread or cheese when presented to them, as if to distract themselves from temptation. Similar behavior is observed in chimpanzees and children.

The jays also adjusted their self-control according to circumstances: in another experiment where the worm was visible but always out of reach, the jays always ate the bread or cheese that was available. This flexibility shows that jays only delay gratification when it is warranted.

This is the first evidence of a link between self-control and intelligence in birds. The work shows that a link between intelligence and self-control exists in unrelated animals. This may mean that self-control has evolved several times over the course of evolution.

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