Innovative problem-solving in a worldwide invasive bird: an analysis of underpinning mechanisms (#238)
Innovation, the invention of a new behaviour or the use of a pre-existing one in a novel context, is an important source of behavioral plasticity. Large-scale comparative analyses have revealed that the number of anecdotal reports of novel feeding behaviours increases with relative brain size across both primate and bird taxa. This finding has prompted the suggestion that behavioural flexibility provides a comparative measure of cross-taxon variation in cognitive ability. Yet, to date, the potential role of cognitive mechanisms in innovative behaviour remains speculative. In this paper, I will combine data gathered using the highly successful ecological invader, the common myna, Acridotheres tristis , into a model of how innovative behaviour might be generated with or without the involvement of cognitive processes. Implications for understanding the behavioural and cognitive processes that animals need to adjust to rampant environmental change will be discussed.