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Topic: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did (Read 187 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • osmanthus
  • Administrator
  • Fingerer of piglets
Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
The headline is a  bit stupid. Birds have been around for millions of years longer than humans, and fires have been around for millions of years longer than birds, so it's a no-brainer that birds would have discovered fire before humans. However, despite the stupid headline the text below it is fascinating.

Quote
Some birds of prey have learned to control fire, a skill previously thought to be unique to humans. The birds appear to deliberately spread wildfires in order to flush out prey. The finding suggests that birds may have beaten us to the use of fire.

There are many anecdotes about Australian birds of prey using fire, according to ornithologist Bob Gosford at the Central Land Council in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. Most come from Aboriginal rangers who manage natural fires in the north Australian tropical savannah, which straddles Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. The three species mentioned are black kites (Milvus migrans), whistling kites (Haliastur sphenurus) and brown falcons (Falco berigora).

The claim is that the birds pick up burning twigs from existing fires and drop them elsewhere to start new blazes. This would flush out prey hidden in the brush.
Truth is out of style

  • borealis
  • Administrator
Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #1
But this is awesome.

  • osmanthus
  • Administrator
  • Fingerer of piglets
Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #2
Well, it's awesome as long as you don't have a bushfire near your place and a bunch of whistling kites in the neighbourhood.
Truth is out of style

  • borealis
  • Administrator
Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #3
If you're human, yes, that is a problem. Kites were there first.  :stuckup:

  • osmanthus
  • Administrator
  • Fingerer of piglets
Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #4
Then they should have invented shotguns to keep the humans out.
Truth is out of style

Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #5
In the mists of time, who knows. Maybe humans saw birds doing this and copied it (without the flying part, that is), or birds weren't clever enough to figure it out until they saw humans setting fires deliberately (unlikely), or maybe even humans and birds cooperated setting fires to flush out prey together (crazier things have happened).

This reminds me of birds that used bread thrown to them as bait to catch fish. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWT3fgImCDY

I often wonder how much the intelligence and discoveries/inventions of one species - particularly humans - stimulates others'. I guess there are two levels, cultural learning on the same 'hardware' which is likely to be the case with species we've interacted with only over short time spans, and evolutionary changes, which we'd only see on the longer time scale, maybe with domesticated species.

Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #6
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

  • MSG
Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #7
Kites aren't falcons you dummy. Also I posted this on MindRomp 2 years ago
braying among the ruins

  • nesb
Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #8
Here's the thing.

  • borealis
  • Administrator
Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #9
Lol!

  • Martin.au
  • Thingyologist
Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #10
Kites aren't falcons you dummy. Also I posted this on MindRomp 2 years ago

I'm also still sceptical. :P

Because kites is dum!
"That which can be asserted with evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." (Dave Hawkins)

Re: Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did
Reply #11
good. burn it down, my pretties. burn it all down.