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No evidence for future planning in Canada Jays (Perisoreus canadensis)


Martin, Robert; Martin, Glynis; Roberts, William; Sherry, David (2021), No evidence for future planning in Canada Jays (Perisoreus canadensis), Dryad, Dataset,


In the past 20 years, research in animal cognition has challenged the belief that complex cognitive processes are uniquely human. At the forefront of these challenges has been research on mental time travel and future planning in jays. We tested whether Canada Jays (Perisoreus canadensis) demonstrated future planning, using a procedure that had previously produced evidence of future planning in California Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma californica). Future planning in this procedure is caching in locations where the bird will predictably experience a lack of food in the future. Canada Jays showed no evidence of future planning in this sense and instead placed caches in a location where food was usually available, the opposite of the behaviour described for California Scrub-Jays. We provide potential explanations for these differing results and suggest a re-evaluation of “complex cognition” as an explanation of caching behaviour in jays.