Cockatoo breaks lock code

Pipin is a very smart cockatoo: by opening a lock with five different latches, he gained access to a nut. Even though he had to work on the problem for nearly two hours! In the animal world, nothing like this had ever been seen before.
Pipin is an untrained cockatoo. A nut was put in place behind a transparent door. The door was closed off. In five steps, the door could be unlocked — but the steps must be carried out in the correct order. In just under two hours, Pipin succeeded. He removed a pin, and then a screw, and then a bolt. The next step was to turn a wheel ninety degrees and push aside a latch. The reward: a nut.

Out of a group of ten untrained cockatoos, only Pipin succeeded without any help. Five other birds succeeded after watching Pipin, or inspecting the separate components.

What really astonished the researchers was the effort exerted by the animals for just one single nut. In addition, the scientists observed that the birds’ ability to open locks improved, even after having cracked only one lock. One of the researchers at Oxford University explains the success of the cockatoos this way: the birds are extremely curious and also have a great capacity for persistence, which allows their behaviour to continue to improve. In addition, cockatoos explore their environment with their beak, tongue and feet. According to the scientist, an animal that is only visually oriented could never crack such a lock code.
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