In recent years, researchers have found that a wide variety of animal species, many of the cognitive skills that were once thought to be unique to humans. These findings show that we have grossly underestimated the intelligence of other animals, and that we are not as different from them as we like to think we are.
So, below are 5 amazing feats of animal intelligence which have been observed (and, in some cases, captured on film) over the past few years.
1. Plotnik et al (2006) have shown that elephants are capable of self -awareness. In the film clip below, the elephant recognizes itself in a mirror, and uses its trunk to try to remove a piece of tape stuck to its head.
2. Lin et al (2007) have shown that mice can think abstractly. This clip shows electrophysiological recordings taken from cells in the hippocampus of the mouse, which fire selectively when the animal enters an appropriately sized compartment that can be used as a nest.
3. Grosenick et al (2007) established that African cichlids can use simple logic to infer their position within a social hierarchy.
5. Last, but by no means least, Hunt and Gray (2004) have observed the extraordinary tool-making abilities of the Caledonian crow. Watch this crow select an appropriate twig, prune it by removing unwanted side-twigs, then finally sculpt a fine hook from it with its beak.
- But do chimps look forward to sex?
- Birds plan for the future
- Avian intelligence
- Fish use simple logic to infer their social status
- The “I’m in bed cell”: Encoding abstract concepts in the mouse brain
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