The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2019.12.16

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

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Crows could be the smartest animal other than primates. Via the BBC:

he crow’s name was Betty. And she was on her way to stardom. A gaggle of Oxford University scientists watched in wonder as she casually picked up a piece of wire in her cage and then used a nearby object to bend it at one end, transforming the wire into a hooked tool. That tool allowed Betty to hoist up a small container of meat – delicious pig’s heart – from inside a plastic tube. Lunch was served.

Back then, in 2002, Betty’s feat was a source of amazement. How did this crow solve such a complex problem so spontaneously? It suggested mental acrobatics akin to our own. This, the headlines read, was one stunningly clever crow.

Except that Betty was not quite as special as some first thought. Many years later, research showed that New Caledonian crows are habitual tool-benders. In the wild, they do it all the time. Observers had initially been startled by Betty’s behaviour because it looked as though she had come up with the design for her hooked tool on the fly. Like an engineer inventing a new machine. In reality, New Caledonians have evolved to make hooked tools from soft twigs as part of their usual foraging activity.

It was less a moment of genius – and more an expression of her nature.

“I don’t want to downplay her cognitive abilities,” says Christian Rutz at the University of St Andrews. “At the very least, it forces us to reassess how insightful Betty’s behaviour was.”

New Caledonian crows belong to the corvid family of birds – as do jackdaws, rooks, jays, magpies and ravens. In recent years, the brains of these birds have been studied ever more closely. There is no doubt that some of them display impressive cognitive abilities. But intelligence is a murky subject. What exactly is it, in the first place? And why has it evolved?

Texas Tech Soccer

Texas Tech Softball

Lady Raider Basketball

Texas Tech 59, Houston Baptist 51. Kind of a rough shooting day for the Lady Raiders, who moved to 7-0 despite only shooting 35% for the day and 27% from the 3-point line. Alexis Tucker led the team with 16 points and 9 rebounds, Chrislyn Carr had 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Brittany Brewer had 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks. The Lady Raiders will play Prairie View A&M on Tuesday at noon for their annual Education Day game.

Texas Tech Baseball

Updates to Clubhouse. Renderings! Who doesn’t love renderings? Anyway, via KCBD, the Texas Tech Board of Regents approved a budget to renovate the Texas Tech baseball clubhouse:

Construction crews will now renovate about 10,000-square-feet of the clubhouse and add an additional 9,500-gross-square feet. Renovations and expansions include: Coach’s office suit, relocated players locker room, classroom, film room, updated athletic training and hydrotherapy facility, players lounge and nutrition/dining room, and a main recruiting lobby.

This will be funded through Tech’s Revenue Finance System and repaid with gift funds, according to Billy Breedlove, vice chancellor for Facilities Planning and Construction, said.

Texas Tech Basketball

Preview Southern Miss. I’ve got your preview and game day thread going up before noon. It’s time to get back into the swing of things.

Git Your Mug.

Bench Talk.

Texas Tech Football

Anderson to Return in 2020. Guard Jack Anderson will return for his senior season, which makes sense since he was injured for a good portion of 2019. It will be good to have him back and this makes the offense better I think.


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