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Thread: Interesting article about animal intelligence

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Interesting article about animal intelligence

    It seems the more we study animals, the less different (or more similar) we appear. Going so far as to say that the only REAL difference may POSSIBLY be language and our ability to voice abstract thoughts

    Thought others might be interested.

    Here is the link Primates, What Are They Thinking? - science |

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Sunshine Coast


    Very interesting!! As a species, I really don't like humans.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010


    agreed humans are the worst species of all

  4. #4


    Humans are only doing what comes naturally to any species when they overpopulate. Take away predators and environmental hazards and all animals will destroy their environment by consuming everything they possibly can. For all our intelligence, we still haven't figured out a way of controlling our own population to a sustainable level.

  5. #5


    The more we study animals, the less special we seem.

    Baboons can distinguish between written words and gibberish. Monkeys seem to be able to do multiplication.

    Apes can delay instant gratification longer than a human child can. They plan ahead. They make war and peace. They show empathy. They share.

    "It's not a question of whether they think - it's how they think," says Duke University scientist Brian Hare.

    Now scientists wonder if apes are capable of thinking about what other apes are thinking.

    The evidence that animals are more intelligent and more social than we thought seems to grow each year, especially when it comes to primates.

    It's an increasingly hot scientific field with the number of ape and monkey cognition studies doubling in recent years, often with better technology and neuroscience paving the way to unusual discoveries.

    This month scientists mapping the DNA of the bonobo ape found that, like the chimp, bonobos are only 1.3 percent different from humans.

    Josep Call, director of the primate research center at the Max Planck Institute in Germany said: "Every year we discover things that we thought they could not do."

    Call says one of his recent more surprising studies showed that apes can set goals and follow through with them.

    Orangutans and bonobos in a zoo were offered eight possible tools - two of which would help them get at some food.

    At times when they chose the proper tool, researchers moved the apes to a different area before they could get the food, and then kept them waiting as much as 14 hours.

    In nearly every case, when the apes realised they were being moved, they took their tool with them so they could use it to get food the next day - remembering that even after sleeping.

    The goal and series of tasks didn't leave the apes' minds.

    Call says this is similar to a person packing luggage a day before a trip: "For humans it's such a central ability, it's so important."

    For a few years, scientists have watched chimpanzees in zoos collect and store rocks as weapons for later use.

    In May, a study found they even add deception to the mix.

    They created haystacks to conceal their stash of stones from opponents, just like nations do with bombs.

    Hare points to studies where competing chimpanzees enter an arena where one bit of food is hidden from view for only one chimp.

    The chimp that can see the hidden food, quickly learns that his foe can't see it and uses that to his advantage, displaying the ability to perceive another ape's situation.

    That's a trait humans develop as toddlers, but something we thought other animals never got, Hare said.

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    And then there is the amazing monkey memory.

    At the National Zoo in Washington, humans who try to match their recall skills with an orangutan's are humbled.

    Zoo associate director Don Moore says: "I've got a Ph.D., for God's sake, you would think I could out-think an orang and I can't."

    In French research, at least two baboons kept memorizing so many pictures - several thousand - that after three years researchers ran out of time before the baboons reached their limit.

    Researcher Joel Fagot at the French National Center for Scientific Research figured they could memorize at least 10,000 and probably more.

    And a chimp in Japan named Ayumu, who sees strings of numbers flash on a screen for a split-second, regularly beats humans at accurately duplicating the lineup.

    It's not just primates that demonstrate surprising abilities.

    Dolphins, whose brains are 25 percent heavier than humans, recognise themselves in a mirror. So do elephants.

    A study in June finds that black bears can do primitive counting, something even pigeons have done, by putting two dots before five, or 10 before 20 in one experiment.

    The trend in research is to identify some new thinking skill that chimps can do, revealing that certain abilities are "not uniquely human", said Emory University primatologist Frans de Waal.

    Then the scientists find that same ability in other primates further removed from humans genetically. Then they see it in dogs and elephants.

    "Capacities that we think in humans are very special and complex are probably not so special and not so complex," de Waal said.

    "This research in animals elevates the animals, but it also brings down the humans... If monkeys can do it and maybe dogs and other animals, maybe it's not as complex as you think."

    At Duke, professor Elizabeth Brannon shows videos of monkeys that appear to be doing a "fuzzy representation" of multiplication by following the number of dots that go into a box on a computer screen and choosing the right answer to come out of the box.

    This is after they've already done addition and subtraction.
    Humans are certainly arrogant lol. The very fact someone is studying this stuff says so.

    But that's what makes us special lmao.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Here's some more - from the Science Report on the ABC last Saturday (June 23rd 2012).

    Frans de Waal, Professor of Primate Behaviour at Emory University, Atlanta Georgia USA gave several talks based on his latest book

    There's a lot of video showing what various monkeys and elephants do when offered ethical dilemas and reporting that similar experiments have been done with dogs and other mammals showing they do have a sense of fair play and care for others in their group of friends.

    videos that go with the talk
    Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals - YouTube 17 minutes approx

    at 14 minutes and 30 seconds you see monkey opinion of low value treat when its friend is getting a high value one.

    The science report - with more detail.
    Saturday 23 June 2012 - The Science Show - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Sunshine coast Qld


    I agree with beau, we are a very arrogent species.

    We consider ourselves to be the more intelligent species yet continually destroy other species and the very environment which supports us? Real smart huh....

    According to many religeous beliefs, animals are nothing more than useful commodities created to serve us and sustain our lives as humans are generally not considered a species, or just another animal, but we are just that...another animal, hence most of us are under that opinion because it suits them..reinforced by there religeous views.

    We feel entitled to cause pain and inflict torture on animals who feel pain, sadness and loss just as we do, but feel it is warranted as "commodities" are there only to serve humans and there PAIN and SUFFERING is somehow less than than ours because "we are considered the intelligent species.

    As the intelligent species who use animals for food and recreation, dont you think we should have a moral obligation to treat these animals with respect in LIFE and in DEATH? Why should we only consider the suffering of humans and not animals?

    Chimps for instance have been scientifically proven to have 98% identical genomes as us. That is fact...yet we find it acceptable to torture them, cutting off hands and feet to use as ashtrays, never considering there pain

    Chimps make and use tools, hunt in organized groups and engage in acts of violence. Wild troops have distinct behaviors and customs, much the same as our different cultures. Field observations and lab experiments show chimps are capable of empathy, altruism and self-awareness. In intelligence experiments , chimps often performed better than humans on a number memory tests.

    Elephants, The sheer size of their brains suggests they must know a thing or two about the ways of the world. They have been seen consoling family members, helping other species in times of need, playing in water and communicating with one another via vibrations sensed in their feet. A crowning achievement, some researchers say, was when this female Asian elephant named Happy recognized herself in the mirror. This complex behavior is shared only with humans, great apes and dolphins.
    The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
    Mohandas Gandhi

  8. #8


    aha, and we contribute nothing at all i'd like one single person to state a positive contribution we have made to any species or environment symbiosis except for cockroaches and bed bugs upon this planet we have had a positive influence on LMAO.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Mosh View Post
    Humans are only doing what comes naturally to any species when they overpopulate. Take away predators and environmental hazards and all animals will destroy their environment by consuming everything they possibly can. For all our intelligence, we still haven't figured out a way of controlling our own population to a sustainable level.
    Yes but I like to think we are doing a better job than most. Things could be worse. Humans have empathy - otherwise we wouldn't even have any individuals in the population who cared about the destruction. Also, birth rates in the 'developed' world have fallen below replacement levels (ie the fertility rate of women is below 2). If we succeed in bringing everyone to the same level, provide them with more to do in life than reproduce and increase rights for women etc we should see the trend extend to the rest of the human population.

    And for Beau, I like to think that my dog is having a better and more fulfilling life than most wolves.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    In the Science report version of Franz Waal's talk - he says the first thing a critter does that recognises itself in the mirror, is look at the bits of itself it can't see without a mirror - eg inside their own mouth, and for girl chimps - their own bottoms.

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