From hammers and chisels to cars and computers—the technological behaviour of humans is unsurpassed by any other organism. Nevertheless, we are not alone in the technological realm. Since Jane Goodall’s pioneering discovery of chimpanzees' tool manufacturing half a century ago, many other primate and non-primate species are now known to exhibit tool-related behaviour, and to perform comparably on a wide variety of cognitive tasks. One species in particular, the New Caledonian crow, expresses tool manufacture skills that eclipse those seen in chimpanzees, including the production of hook tools—an ability shared only with humans. New Caledonian crows’ pandanus leaf tool designs vary across populations in different geographical areas in a pattern that suggests they have cumulatively evolved. In aviary experiments, wild-caught New Caledonian crows have successfully solved cognitive tasks that probe abilities such as reasoning by exclusion, causal inference, meta-tool use, agency detection, and short-term planning. The New Caledonian crow is thus an ideal model species to test hypotheses about what makes humans unique, and, in the process, to study the more general links between tool manufacture, cognition, and cultural evolution.