The study suggests that squirrels are primed to recognise other squirrels as potential food thieves. It also shows that they learn more quickly from real life observations.
Corresponding author Dr Lisa Leaver of the University of Exeter, said: "Our study is significant because it is the first to show that grey squirrels learn from observing others. It adds to growing evidence that all kinds of animals, from humans and other primates to many species of birds, learn from observation and that they have evolved to learn quickly about those things that are most important to their lives – in the case of grey squirrels, gathering and storing nuts."
Scientists interested in the ability of gray squirrels learn from watching other squirrels have come up with an ingenious (albeit a bit iffy from a moral perspective) study: teaching 'em to steal!