Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS Biol. 2008 Aug 19;6(8):e202. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060202.

Mirror-induced behavior in the magpie (Pica pica): evidence of self-recognition.

Author information

  • 1Institut für Psychologie, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Prior@psych.uni-frankfurt.de

Abstract

Comparative studies suggest that at least some bird species have evolved mental skills similar to those found in humans and apes. This is indicated by feats such as tool use, episodic-like memory, and the ability to use one's own experience in predicting the behavior of conspecifics. It is, however, not yet clear whether these skills are accompanied by an understanding of the self. In apes, self-directed behavior in response to a mirror has been taken as evidence of self-recognition. We investigated mirror-induced behavior in the magpie, a songbird species from the crow family. As in apes, some individuals behaved in front of the mirror as if they were testing behavioral contingencies. When provided with a mark, magpies showed spontaneous mark-directed behavior. Our findings provide the first evidence of mirror self-recognition in a non-mammalian species. They suggest that essential components of human self-recognition have evolved independently in different vertebrate classes with a separate evolutionary history.

Comment in

PMID:
18715117
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2517622
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk