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The fact that New Caledonian crows are smart is no secret. After all these birds that are endemic to the remote South Pacific Island of New Caledonia have been lauded for years, for their sophisticated tool use that not only rivals most birds, but also some of the most intelligent primates. But now it seems that they even possess psychic powers - For how else can you explain their accurate prediction of the semifinal results of the 2014 FIFA World Cup?
The fun experiment was conducted earlier this week by the scientists at University of Auckland's Language, Culture and Cognition Lab. The researchers began by selecting Ricalli and Crexa, the two smartest birds from the group of New Caledonian crows they have been observing for the past decade.
They then set up a miniature soccer pitch complete with little goals and provided Ricalli and Crexa with tiny soccer balls to demonstrate their foretelling abilities by shooting penalty goals. In this case that entailed dropping the balls down a tube. Depending on way the birds tossed it in, the ball either rolled into the little goal or off the table. Each time the crows took a shot, they were rewarded with a piece of steak.
While the birds did not quite predict the blowout game between Germany and Brazil, they did anticipate the win. The results of the second semifinal between Netherlands and Argentina were as accurate. Now the researchers are waiting to see if their psychic powers extend to the finals. According to Ricalli and Crexa, it will be Argentina that will take home the coveted gold trophy and title of World Cup Champions. If that happens, it will prove yet again that the New Caledonian crows who can perform tasks that even three to four year-old humans find difficult, are no bird brains!