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Australia's cockatoos taught each other to open trash cans for food, study finds

July 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 17.4%. 1 min read.

A few years ago, Australian scientist Richard Major took a video of a cockatoo in Sydney opening a closed trash bin lid with its beak and foot to access the gold mine of leftover food inside.

(CNN)A few years ago, Australian scientist Richard Major took a video of a cockatoo in Sydney opening a closed trash bin lid with its beak and foot to access the gold mine of leftover food inside.

On Thursday, the scientists published their findings in the journal Science, which found that the iconic Australian bird species learned this foraging skill from each other and showed innovation by developing different ways of opening the bins.

For instance, in late 2018, a cockatoo in northern Sydney reinvented the technique by opening the lids a different way, prompting birds in neighboring districts to copy the behavior.

It may seem like a trivial finding -- that birds can open lids differently -- but it's significant because it proves animals can learn, share and develop subcultures, Major said.

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