Old 09-30-2011, 06:28 AM   #1
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Animal Behavior

I love stories about animals displaying behavior that we previously thought of as uniquely human. There are so many of these stories lately that thought I would make a thread.

Here is one today about fish caught on camera using tools.

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In the video, an orange-dotted tuskfish is seen digging a clam out of the sand. The tuskfish then carries the clam over to a rock, and repeatedly throws the clam against the rock to crush it. This is basic tool tech, but it does the job and is impressive when you consider that fish don't have hands or much to work with in their habitats.

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Old 09-30-2011, 06:33 AM   #2
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A video featuring Dr Robert Sapolsky, a neuroscientist that studies baboons on animals displaying all kinds of interesting and sophisticated political behavior.

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Old 09-30-2011, 06:37 AM   #3
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Probably everyone has already read the story on wild parrots naming their babies.

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Old 09-30-2011, 09:06 AM   #4
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An older story on the canine understanding of justice.

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Old 09-30-2011, 09:27 AM   #5
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Another old one. An octopus using a carrying a coconut around to use as protective body armor.

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Old 09-30-2011, 09:39 AM   #6
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Pigeons out perform humans in the Monty Hall Dilemma (pdf)

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magine that you’re in a game show and your host shows you three doors. Behind one of them is a shiny car and behind the others are far less lustrous goats. You pick one of the doors and get whatever lies within. After making your choice, your host opens one of the other two doors, which inevitably reveals a goat. He then asks you if you want to stick with your original pick, or swap to the other remaining door. What do you do?

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Old 09-30-2011, 09:48 AM   #7
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Dude, these stories rock.

I also love to see evidence of animals doing things thought to be "human specific".

Like parrots naming their kids? Awesome!
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:51 AM   #8
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Dude, these stories rock.

I also love to see evidence of animals doing things thought to be "human specific".

Like parrots naming their kids? Awesome!
Thanks!

I love the pigeon one. Now, whenever I go to Starbucks and see the pigeons hanging out at the feet of the people, I think "Which of these animals would you bet on in a battle of logic."

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Old 09-30-2011, 10:09 AM   #9
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Years back, when I lived in Korea, I had a love bird named Pol. I swear that little shit was as clever as most 3 or 4 year olds. He just lived free in the house, and I just talked to him like I would talk to a little kid, and he usually complied just like a little kid.

I remember one incident, where Pol was trying to chew on a leather bound copy of Dickens. I scolded him, and told him not to chew on it. Then put a notebook on the table, and told him that he could chew on this one instead. After that, he always chewed on his notebook, and left my other books alone.

As much as some of us would like to believe that we are far superior intellectually to other animals, it just ain't the case, innit?

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Old 09-30-2011, 10:09 AM   #10
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ubs wrote View Post
Thanks!

I love the pigeon one. Now, whenever I go to Starbucks and see the pigeons hanging out at the feet of the people, I think "Which of these animals would you bet on in a battle of logic."
The pigeons who had chosen to browse the web with PCs instead of Apples. Totally!

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Old 09-30-2011, 10:11 AM   #11
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This is a cool thread, btw!

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Old 09-30-2011, 10:13 AM   #12
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This is a cool thread, btw!
Thank you.

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Old 09-30-2011, 10:36 AM   #13
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I have to agree, awesome thread ubs. Love reading about intelligence in animals, as there tends to be so little intelligence displayed in our own species at times.

Wait just a minute-You expect me to believe-That all this misbehaving-Grew from one enchanted tree? And helpless to fight it-We should all be satisfied-With this magical explanation-For why the living die-And why it's hard to be a decent human being - David Bazan
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:41 AM   #14
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I did read that a million monkeys typing on a million type writers over a period of years wrote Moby Dick..............................
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Old 09-30-2011, 03:37 PM   #15
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I love stories about animals displaying behavior that we previously thought of as uniquely human. There are so many of these stories lately that thought I would make a thread.
I am cautious about reports of "human-like" behaviors from animals. I agree that there are many well established ones but it is very easy in many cases for the theist to say that the behaviors are merely very complex instincts like the termite hill, the Bee huve or the Bower-bird's nest.

The key, I think, to a valid instance of a human-like feature is the (intellect based) ability to adjust its response to a situation that is just outside the animal's ordinary range of experience.

If the fish in the report could not slam its catch on a rock because, say, it happened to be a very large variant of its kind and, if the fish exhibited novel behavior, dropping a rock on its catch instead (no, I don't know how this could be done, I am not as smart as the hypothetical fish), then I would be impressed over its human-like innovation or creativity.

When I read about Chimps using a long straw to get insects out of holes in rotting wood, I was elated (toolmaking discovered). Later, when I read that all Chimps did it the same way, I was disappointed (merely complex instinct). Then when I read that similar behaviors had to be spread from one animal to another (in Bonobos) by example and communication, I was happy again (non-instinctual learning).

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