Cockatoos will delay eating nuts to get tastier ones. The fact that the birds showed self-control surprised scientists because the trait is normally found in animals with larger brains.
Scientists gave Goffin cockatoos, a mainly white species from Indonesia, a nut while showing them a more attractive one just out of reach. If the birds did not nibble the first nut for up to 80 seconds, they learned they would get the second instead.
“Imagine placing a cookie directly into a toddler’s mouth and telling him/her that he/she will only receive a piece of chocolate if the cookie is not nibbled for over a minute,” said University of Vienna researcher Alice Auersperg.
Self-control in kids has been studied in a similar experiment. In the 1970s, children were given a marshmallow and told that they would get a second if they did not eat the first for several minutes. Researchers kept in touch with the children for years and discovered that those who waited for the second marshmallow were more successful as adults than those who ate the first one immediately.