Crows Using Calculus

There are many examples of mathematics found in nature. This resource has been developed to explore how the feeding habits of crows can be explained and even validated using a fairly simple static mathematical model . As you work through this module, you should gain an appreciation for how various techniques that you have learned over the years can be applied to help understand things that may seem completely unrelated to math.



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This module was written by Drew Hanson and Gerda de Vries. It was produced for CRYSTAL Alberta, and was adapted from the following sources:

Joseph M. Mahaffy & Alexandra Chávez-Ross, Calculus - A Modelling Approach for the Life Sciences, Pearson Custom Publishing, 2004.
R. Zach, Selection and dropping of whelks by Northwestern crows, Behaviour, (1978) 67, 134-147.
R. Zach, Shell dropping: Decision-Making and optimal foraging in Northwestern crows, Behaviour, (1979) 68, 106-117.

The images used on this site come from the following sources (sites last checked August 20, 2007):
The crow image on index.html (this page) is from
The whelk image on foraging.html is from
Figures 1, 2, and 3 are adapted from Zach's papers credited above.