Tales from the pond of death...
|The Crow and the Pitcher, illustration by Charles Robinson|
|Intelligere animalis inteligentia, resin and mixed media, 46 x 44 x 8 cm. 2015|
This is my free interpretation of a real story about the unlimited capacity to survive of the animals, and their amazing intellect. In this case, the crows. In April 2005, a small pond in Hamburg, Germany became the center of a great mystery, rather repulsive in nature.
About 1,000 dead toads were discovered lying around the edges. Their bodies appeared to have exploded. Eye-witnesses said they swelled up to about three-and-a-half times their normal size and then simply burst. And they burst with such an explosive force that their entrails were blown over several square meters. For several weeks, the common European toads in question received international attention. science was totally baffled, unable to provide an explanation for deaths. People call this place ‘The Pond of Death’. Finally F. Mutschmann, an amphibians expert, cracked the case with a shocking explanation about of toads’ deaths. The massacre was, apparently, the work of a highly intelligent species of crows.
After having examined both living and dead specimens of the Hamburg toads, what he found was identical circular incisions on his bodies, just the size of a bird’s beak. He also found out that all the amphibians had their livers missing. “It was clearly the work of crows, which are clever enough to know the toad’s skin is toxic and realize the liver is the only part worth eating”, the expert said. Apparently the technique isn't painful for the toad, Only once the liver is gone does the toad realize it’s being attacked. It puffs itself up as a natural deffence mechanism. But since it doesn’t have a diaphragm or ribs, without the liver there is nothing to hold the rest of its organs in. The lungs stretch out of all proportion and rip; the rest of the organs simply expel themselves.
In my work the crow appears using a tool to remove the liver, it is not accidental as i'm doing a double reference , the first and obvious is the use of a small stick like a scalpel with the typical position of the toad with the student perform the famous dissections of the poor aforementioned the second , more than making a direct reference to medical practices, what I want is to highlight the incredible ability of this animal to create their own tools for a specific purpose and knowing exactly how to use them.
Jaques-Fabien Gautier d'Agoty, La générations des Grenouilles,1752 In Observations sur l'Histoire naturelle
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France
Apparently This isn't just some genetically-programmed behavior. Crows aren't born knowing how to make these tools; they teach the technique to their young. And they can improvise, too. there have been countless experiments with crows to prove their intelligence with respect to the development of tools and the creation of new tools from those given by man applying them to new needs.