Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Convergent Evolution of Intelligence Between Corvids and Primates

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3107-1



Convergent evolution describes the analogous (as opposed to homologous) acquisition of similar traits in phylogenetically diverse species facing similar selection pressures. Corvids and primates are often observed to exhibit highly intelligent behavior (with intelligence typically operationalized in this context as those behaviors that indicate the presence of advanced capacities once thought unique to humans or cognitive capacities which surpass those of humans). This led Emery and Clayton (2004) to identify primates and corvids as a case of convergent evolution of intelligence, citing the two groups’ capacity for causal reasoning, cognitive flexibility, imagination, and prospection as the key ingredients of a shared cognitive toolkit.


Primates and corvids comprise some of the most enigmatic study species in the field of comparative...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Perception and Performance Research Group, School of PsychologyCharles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Todd K. Shackelford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA