Scientists in India have observed crocodiles engaging in some strange behaviour, including hunting in herds, using sticks as bait to lure herons and egrets into their striking range, showing interest in wreaths floating in a river, and even rescuing a feral dog that had been chased. By other dogs.
the New studypublished on August 26 in the magazine Threatened Taxa, indicates that the crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) People who inhabit the Savitri River in Maharashtra, India are more cognitively advanced than scientists currently think.
Although these observations are puzzling, an expert contacted by Live Science was skeptical, noting that although hunting behaviors have been reported previously — anecdotally — the latest two claims are almost certainly anthropomorphic conjecture.
“Crocodilians have a sophisticated set of behaviors,” he said. Duncan LeachHe is a reptile neurophysiology biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and was not involved in the research. “But some of these conclusions are using a human definition of intelligence and trying to find that in crocodiles.”
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The new study recorded several instances in which groups of agitated crocodiles swam in circles around schools of fish, creating a vortex. It was assumed that their movement would have trapped the fish, and crocodiles have been observed devouring them while engaging in this behavior. Similar behaviors It has been previously observed in other crocodiles.
The latest newspaper said that it appears that the stealing crocodiles use sticks to lure wading birds such as white egrets (Ibis publicus). These birds use sticks to build their nests, and competition for main branches can be intense. Therefore, placing a branch on an alligator’s snout may seem like a tempting option.
a 2013 paper He also chronicled a series of anecdotal observations of crocodiles using sticks to lure wading birds.
“Crocodiles’ sensory systems are incredibly sophisticated. They have a very good sense of vision. Their sense of touch is among the best in the animal kingdom,” Leach said. “They are certainly adapted to pick up cues from their environment. It is difficult to determine whether or not this is intelligence in the way we see crows using tools.”
He added that the anecdotal evidence mentioned is not widely accepted among crocodile researchers.
The authors also said that agitated crocodiles seem to be attracted to marigold wreaths (Tagetes erect) Flowers fell into the river during funeral rituals. The researchers suggested that crocodiles may be attracted to the color of the flowers and their antibacterial properties.
However, crocodiles have not been observed interacting with or consuming the flowers, but rather have simply been found near them. Although the authors cited incidents in which captive crocodiles were seen playing with bougainvillea flowers, such behavior has not been observed in thieves.
Researchers also reported an incident in which a pack of adult feral dogs chased a young dog into a river. Instead of eating the dog, three crocodiles appeared to push it to shore.
“[The crocodiles] “They directed the dog away from the site where it would have been vulnerable to attack by a pack of feral dogs waiting on the riverbank,” they wrote. “These crocodiles would touch the dog with their snout and prompt him to move further in order to safely get up the bank and eventually escape.”
The authors interpreted this action as sympathetic, suggesting that the crocodiles may have been concerned for the dog’s safety. While it is certainly interesting that they did not consume any obvious prey, there is little evidence that crocodilians are able to empathize with other species, Leach said.
“they [the authors] “They may be coming from an anthropomorphic perspective and trying to attribute abilities they may not have,” Leach said.
Anecdotal findings such as those presented in this paper may provide possibilities for additional investigation. But in the absence of more rigorous research, it’s just anecdotal, Leach said.
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