Category: Animal minds

Claim: Crows’ causal understanding rivals that of 5-7 year old children

An ancient fable describing this very feat suggests it may not be exclusively the result of causal reasoning on the part of intelligent individual crows. more

Why do black swans feed fish?

Animals play because they like to do things, and find themselves with time to spare when they have no pressing needs. Does it help her leave fertile offspring? Maybe, maybe not. The time exists, no matter how she uses it. more

Fri Nite Frite: The Raven (is smarter than you)

Like, with all these smart birds around, can a fish afford to just be blankly stupid any more? Will we now see the evolution of smarter fish? more

Love Doctor Helen Fisher, evolutionary psychologist, expert on romance who got divorced after 6 months

If there were one person in the world who might have converted me to Darwinism, it would have been love doctor Helen Fisher, a professor of love, romance, anthropology and evolution at Rutgers university. Her writings are an enchanting mix of real life romance stories sprinkled with the fictions of evolution. She has a truly […] more

Anthropologist David Graeber asks, why do animals play?

In a wide-ranging essay, Graeber not only insists that insects and crustaceans play (not clear what that means in the context) but explores some currents in non-Darwinian evolutionary thought. more

The intelligence of the chicken “startles”?

Here’s a thought: Perhaps animal intelligence is, within a certain range, dependent on need. more

Chimpanzees, we learn, can use gestures to communicate when hunting for food

So do dogs, of course. Information is immaterial in character, though mediated by material media. Do animals then create information when they signal each other new information? more

Carl Sagan: Learning dolphin language to talk to ET?

Tell me again why some people consider Sagan a great scientist. Was it the face? The voice? The comparatively early death? more

U of Adelaide evolutionary biologists deny that humans are smarter than other animals

Just think, folks, if it weren’t for agriculture and organised religion, it would never occur to us that we have higher order cognitive skills than Rover or Tom. more

Researchers: Crows are “feathered primates”

We should be thinking in terms of minimum configurations irrespective of phylogeny rather than a hierarchy of intelligence, in which a squid comes along and just blows it all out of the water. more

There is no tree of intelligence: Crocodiles use tools

If humans don’t use the parts of our brain equivalent to those of reptiles for strategic planning, it’s most likely because we don’t need to. Reptiles use what they have. more

Does fox use magnetic north to detect prey under three feet of snow?

At one time, it was doubtless simple just to say, “It can’t really do that; that’s just an old-timers’ legend” or “Its hearing is really good; that’s all.” But catching it on film suggests another possibility… more

Further to the question of what constitutes “woo” (Rupert Sheldrake edition)

We have much to learn about animal cognition, but advances may require challenging current beliefs about how animals know things, learn, or navigate. more

Back to basics — rationality (not rationalism) 101 . . . including moral common sense

  It seems necessary — in the teeth of too much obfuscatory rhetoric spread out like a squid escaping behind a cloud of ink — to lay out some basics of reasoning in general and about morality in particular for record, yet again. This time, by clipping, slightly adapting and highlighting an in-thread comment here: […] more

Many bee groups went extinct along with T. Rex, but who knew? Or cared?

It’s been said that people note the dinosaur extinction because they are big, bad, and dead. No one cares about the trilobite extinction because they weren’t big or bad, just dead. And bees, as an order, don’t even make the third checkoff. more

U Chicago Darwinist Jerry Coyne goes after animal behaviorist Rupert Sheldrake

Richard Dawkins made a point of hounding Sheldrake, and at one point had to be shown out of his lab. more

Fri nite frite: Accused man-eating tigers released back to wild

Not to worry. They have all joined Man-eaters Anonymous and are said to be diligently working through the Twelve-Stealth Program, trusting in their Overpower. more

New caveman theory explains why humans are musical

It isn’t an explanation, only an “it may as well have been” speculation, an a remarkably inept one at best. more

Bees in the news – form living chains with their feet to repair holes in honeycomb

Maybe we wouldn’t want hive minds, but you have to admit, they are pretty efficient. more

Fri nite frite I: Revenge of the death jellyfish

Expert: Even sober scientists are now talking of the jellification of the oceans. more

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