Military asked UW to ramp up crow study for bin Laden search

Print
Email
|

by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on May 4, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 4 at 6:11 PM

SEATTLE -- Years before a specially trained team of Navy SEALs swooped in on Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan, another team was being assessed to possibly aid in the search for Public Enemy No. 1.

University of Washington Wildlife Sciences Professor, John Marzluff, was contracted by the military to study crows and their ability to recognize human faces. 

Several years ago, Marzluff and his team wore caveman masks when they captured and tagged crows on the UW campus. To this day, if they wear those masks, they are harassed by flocks of crows following their every step. When they take the masks off, the crows leave them alone.

The military heard of this research and considered the possibility of using crows to recognize missing soldiers or even the world's most wanted terrorist, bin Laden. 

Marzluff explained you could replace the caveman mask with an Osama mask, harass or even kill crows, and then wait for word to spread through the entire crow-nation. Osama's face would, theoretically, set off a crow commotion.

Marzluff said the crows would probably be up to the task, but he said the birds would be better suited to finding soldiers stuck behind enemy lines or missing children back home.

Print
Email
|