Animal intelligence: amazing new research findings
National Geographic Magazine, March 2008, contains a wonderful feature article which explores the work of many different researchers who are all independently starting to discover that it is not just the higher primates and dolphins who have Minds of their Own.
Alice Jones, National Geographic staff summarises what some of the smartest animals can do:
Azy (orangutan) communicates through abstract symbols on a computer screen and has shown that he can understand another individual's perspective, a capability scientists call theory of mind.
Kanzi (bonobo) uses lexigrams to communicate, understands spoken English, and makes and uses stone tools.
Koko (gorilla) communicates using American Sign Language.
Momo (marmoset) learns through imitation and has a sense of object permanence--the knowledge that something out of sight still exists.
Aristides (ring-tailed lemur) can repeat arbitrary sequences on a computer screen and discriminate between quantities.
Alex (African gray parrot) counted, identified shapes and colors, and understood the concept of same and different.
Psychobird (western scrub jay) recalls the past, plans for the future, and understands the concept of deceptive behavior.
Uek and Betty (New Caledonian crows) can solve problems and use tools.
Dolphins understand grammar and syntax, show self-awareness, are creative, and recognize that instructions given on a television screen are representations of the real world.
"Betsy" and Rico (border collies) understand hundreds of words and the objects they represent.
Elephants have been shown to exhibit self-awareness and have long memories.
Sheep can recognize individual faces--human and sheep--and retain the recognition long-term.
Octopi use tools, exhibit play behavior, recognize individuals, and have distinct personalities.
African cichlids determine social ranking through observation, exhibits signs of logical reasoning.
Bioteams Books Reviews
"Cell", the new novel by horror writer Stephen King, paints an all too plausible scenario where our addiction to cell phones enables a malicious virus to be pulsed to every phone in the world turning all who take the call into a flock of murderously mad zombies.