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The Hidden Intelligence of Animals
Experiments on animal cognition have found that intelligence is more dynamic than we once thought and that animals may be far more clever than we have historically given them credit for.
What's the Latest Development?
Over the past decade, experiments on animal intelligence—involving primarily chimps and elephants—have found that cognition is a more dynamic process than we once thought and that animals may be far more clever than we have historically given them credit for. In 2007, a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University put human memory to shame. "Trained on a touch screen, Ayumu could recall a random series of nine numbers, from 1 to 9, and tap them in the right order, even though the numbers had been displayed for just a fraction of a second and then replaced with white squares."
What's the Big Idea?
For years, scientists believed that elephants were incapable of using tools, such as sticks to fetch plates of food just out of reach, but that may be because it's not a tool elephants find useful. In more recent tests, elephants were quick to use a wooden block to reach food tied above their heads (it is thought that grasping sticks closes an elephant's trunk, an essential sensory organ and therefore one they are extremely hesitant to give up). The lesson is that our view of human intelligence appears to have been too exclusive, dating all the way back to ancient Greece. When we meet animals on their terms, many species turn out to be quite clever.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Certain water beetles can escape from frogs after being consumed.
- A Japanese scientist shows that some beetles can wiggle out of frog's butts after being eaten whole.
- The research suggests the beetle can get out in as little as 7 minutes.
- Most of the beetles swallowed in the experiment survived with no complications after being excreted.
The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.
- Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year.
- That's the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet.
- Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs.
- Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget.
- Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.
The lush biodiversity of South America's rainforests is rooted in one of the most cataclysmic events that ever struck Earth.
- One especially mysterious thing about the asteroid impact, which killed the dinosaurs, is how it transformed Earth's tropical rainforests.
- A recent study analyzed ancient fossils collected in modern-day Colombia to determine how tropical rainforests changed after the bolide impact.
- The results highlight how nature is able to recover from cataclysmic events, though it may take millions of years.