• Search
  • Member List
  • Help
  • Random Thread

  • Tech Discussion more reasons why your kids aren't that smart...
    about a year ago, news hit the net that certain parrots are just as smart as six hear old humans... and we've known that crows are just as smart as apes... well guess what? turns out that crows are little face-remembering freaky flying things with complex reasoning abilities.

    arstechnica Wrote:
    [Image: Image-8-640x360.jpg]
    One of the most enjoyable facets of studying other species is discovering the amazing things they’re capable of. As humans, the things we tend to find most amazing are the abilities that remind us the most of, well, us—parrots that can speak, bonobos that play Pac-Man, monkeys that use rocks like hammers to crack nuts, and so on. That can create a bit of a bias when we evaluate human intelligence in comparison to other species. As Robert Brault put it, “If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit."

    The better we get at examining intelligence in other species on their own terms, the richer the picture of their cognition becomes. In many cases, the idea that some human trait or ability is utterly unique among the animals is cut down in the process. Chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest relatives, are most similar to us and do the majority of the humbling. There are, however, much more distantly related species that have joined in the game. One such group is the crows (and the corvid family in general), which can use tools—including traffic patterns—and solve complex problems.
    Face time

    Studies have demonstrated that crows can learn to recognize human faces, and hold onto that memory (and sometimes a grudge) for a long time. Researchers from the University of Washington wanted to go deeper and understand how they do so at the level of the brain. They were interested to find out whether crows recognized faces using the same neural processes as humans, or in another way with which we were not yet familiar.

    To find out, the researchers captured twelve wild American crows while wearing a particular mask of a human face. For four weeks following their capture, they fed and cared for the crows while wearing a different mask. The idea was to see if the birds would recognize one face (mask) as the “threatening” one that captured them, and the other face as the “caring” one that brought them delicious food.

    One by one, they took the crows and presented them with a view of one of the two faces, or simply an empty room. Since you can’t keep a crow calmly strapped inside a brain scanner while this is going on, they gave the crows a chemical that functions as a sort of dye or marker. When a part of the brain becomes active, it takes in this chemical from the bloodstream. Afterward, they anesthetized the crow and placed it in a PET scanner. The areas of the brain that contained the chemical marker showed up clearly, allowing the researchers to see what parts of the brain had been busy while the crow was checking out the sights they were shown.

    From the images (as well as the crows’ behavior), they were able to tell that the crows recognized the “threatening” and “caring” faces as just that—no surprise there. Interestingly, they did so by using the same regions of the brain that humans do when they process images of faces and associate them with the relevant emotions.

    Why is this useful information? The researchers explain, “Understanding how wild animals integrate perception, memory, and emotion to behave adaptively may allow researchers to generalize important findings across species and sensory modalities, develop strategies to lower stress in captive animals, shape animal actions to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, and engage the public to appreciate the cognitive capacity of other species.”
    The name’s Detective Crow

    Facial recognition not good enough for you? Another recent study takes on a much more complex cognitive task—reasoning that some agent is responsible for an observed action, even when that agent is nowhere to be seen. (No, the crows are not developing government conspiracy theories surrounding their capture and interrogation…)

    The researchers give an example: Say you’re a bird sitting high in a tree. If you see a monkey swinging through the branches of a neighboring tree, shaking the leaves in the process, there’s no mystery here. But what if you only see the shaking leaves, with nary a glimpse of a responsible monkey? It may seem like a simple step to recognize that the movement must be caused by a hidden monkey, but think about how complex that thought really is. You have to recognize the pattern of leaf movement as different from the usual rustling in the wind, call up possible explanations abstracted from your memories, and select the one that fits best.

    Researchers have tried to elicit this type of thinking from nonhuman primates, but haven’t had much success. “However,” the authors of this recent study argue, “no studies have attempted to recreate ecological situations… where the ability to make inferences about hidden causal agents would be highly adaptive.” In other words, we’ve been asking them to demonstrate these abilities in very artificial situations, rather than in their element.

    In this experiment, the researchers used eight New Caledonian crows—famous for their use of sticks as tools to procure meals. The crows were placed in a room with a box from which they could retrieve food by using a stick. Near the box was a blind behind which researchers could hide. A hole in the blind near the food box allowed the researchers to poke a stick through that would hit any crow trying to use the box in the back of the head. (Don’t worry—the researchers expressly avoided doing so.)

    First, two researchers entered the room—one went behind the blind and one stayed in plain sight. The one behind the blind would push the stick through the hole a number of times, and then both the humans would leave the room. In the second version, one researcher would enter the room and stand in plain sight while the stick was manipulated from outside the room (via pulleys) and then leave the room. In each case, the behavior of the crow was monitored after the humans left. They watched to see how many times the crow eyeballed the hole to make sure a stick wasn’t coming out while it used the food box. (Watch the video below to see this in action.)

    The idea was this: if the crows were capable of thinking of the stick as being manipulated by a hidden human, they wouldn’t worry about the stick once the human behind the blind left. When the stick did its thing, but no human walked out, on the other hand, they’d be very suspicious that the stick would start moving again at any moment.

    That’s exactly what happened. When no human emerged from behind the blind, the crows were clearly nervous. They inspected the hole much more frequently, and retreated from the box without successfully getting the food on several occasions (which never occurred in the first scenario).

    This indicates that though the crows could not see the person behind the blind, they knew that person was moving the stick. They didn’t trust the food box to be safe until they saw somebody leave the blind.

    “It is, therefore, possible,” the researchers write, “that the ability to reason about hidden causal agents is far more widespread in the animal kingdom than has been thought previously.”

    so, in conclusion... next time you want to praise your kids... don't. instead, tell them that their accomplishments aren't really that special compared to pack of motivated monkeys.

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
    Which is probably why you never see crows as road kill.

    My parents have a family of lorikeets that live in the trees at the back of their yard. There have been lorikeets in those trees since we moved there in 1987 and they've been getting progressively bolder. This generation has learned enough that they no longer wait for seeds to be put in the bird feeder, they actually come up and tap on the kitchen window. They are smart enough that they will only tap if they see my mum or dad, nobody else -- and since it's through glass, they can't be going on anything except actual facial/body recognition.

    The cheeky little buggers want to be hand fed these days. They'll go through a handful of grains and only pick out sunflower seeds and pepitas. My kids, on the other hand, will eat what they're told Smile
    (This post was last modified: 10-14-2012, 02:51 AM by Leanne.)

    No fucking censorship. Ever.
    ahhh... parrots have always been pretty smart... except for those turkey sized ground parrots in new zealand.

    but, that is a perfect example of cognitive ability if you ask me. they recognize your parents and the know that they are going to get some food if they can get their attention.

    i actually taught my dog sign language (well, he could understand the signs) and he was also able to understand several signs used in sequence to complete basic tasks (when he didn't decide to lick his balls instead).

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
    Food is the best incentive to learn. I would never have gone to university if not for chocolate.

    No fucking censorship. Ever.
    when i was growing up, not getting a belt across my ass was a much better incentive to learn.

    in that story, the part that really got my attention was how the birds can recognize the difference in rustling leaf patterns and determine the cause. i mean... that's really kind of complex. i don't even think i would be able to necessarily be able to determine why a group of leafs may be moving.

    we've known that animals can sense natural disasters before they are happen and perhaps understanding their thought processes can lead to a whole new generation of early warning and detection.

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
    We always know when it's going to rain by watching the birds and the ants. City folk laugh at us but when you grow up in the country you learn to trust nature. It's smarter than us.

    No fucking censorship. Ever.
    Rednecks are stereotypically (and sadly, realistically) undereducated. Sad While that doesn't kill the possibility of the occasional successful, intelligent, debonaire redneck from say opening a cool forum, but it does cause more dependence on things that can be seen and heard around you.

    Edgar Rice Burroughs believed that if we had to live in the jungle for 20 years (and somehow survived) then our senses would heighten and while we may never achieve the level of sensitivity of a wolf, for example, we might potentially increase our current state.

    Really, in a lot of ways animals have always been smarter than humans. Did you ever see an animal polluting a river or cutting down a forest?

    Wildcard is awesome.
    Kids now days are not smart, parents dont pay attention, spoiled mofos Tongue

    that's the point... how can you compare a child to a crow since now we know that they can use their cognitive abilities to make observations, form theories, test said theories and formulate methods to accomplish their goals?

    when is the last time you saw a child develop a tool for use in the process of completing a task?
    • a monkey can stack objects, use inclined ramps, smash stuff and throw shit.
    • parrots can talk and use tools.
    • crows can devise strategies, make observations, hypothesize, use tools and solve problems.
    • dolphins fuck around playing in the water all day.
    • some birds can mimic what they hear (some people can do this too, but it's a lot less remarkable)
    • kids get cookies for not shitting in their pants.

    the game is: 'are you smarter than a fifth grader?'

    the game should be: 'is your fifth grader smarter than your average beast?'

    for a long time, my friends who have become victims to life and consequently produced offspring have wasted countless hours of my life by telling me about all the fascinating things that their children can do. from now on, i will be comparing their children to their other species in an attempt to determine how smart they really are.

    in fact, next time any of my friend's children get their heads stuck in a banister; rather than ridicule them and tell their parents that they are fucking retarded, i'm gong to tell them all about their apparent lack of any remarkable amount cognitive functions and how their children are mentally inferior to crows despite several million years of evolution... and then inquire as to the amount of alcohol involved during their prenatal development..

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
    Spud17 liked this post
    I once kept a parrot for about 10 years.

    I loved her as much as I have ever loved any woman. It was so strange. I could never understand how I could love such a tiny creature so much.

    She was incredibly smart about certain things. Although not so smart about others.

    I originally got her for free because some people had a few parrots and a cat and the parrots used to beat up on the cat. Imagine that?

    Anyway they gave her to me and she was eating out of my hand within about an hour. She wasn't completely tame. When I first got her, she wouldn't let me touch her. But after she took food out of my hand, it sure didn't take long. She use to love when I would pet her and stroke her.

    BTW, I never had her sexed. But I was certain she was a female because of the way she acted. She never acted aggressive or territorial. She also did this thing when I gave her food. She would swallow it and then bob her head up and down a few times and then spit some of the food out into my hand as if I was one of her babies. I'm pretty sure that is how birds feed their young. But I don't know if any of those behaviors were enough to prove she was Female.

    Still, it just seemed to me to be overwhelmingly clear that she was Female.

    I taught her many tricks. She would do things I wanted her to do and I never had to reward her with food.

    What did I like about her the best? She never wanted to be alone. She would always insist that when I was home, I would take her and put her within a foot or two away from me so that I could tickle her or pet her at any time. She was a great companion.

    If I didn't do what she wanted, she would start to squawk. Within about 10 minutes, it would progress from squawking to screeching to screaming. Finally, it was so loud my neighbors would come and complain. So I had to do what she wanted. She also always demanded that whenever I ate something, I had to give her a piece to taste. She would raise Holy Hell until I gave her a taste. She always got her way with that. She was an amazing creature. A green Amazon. I've also owned African Greys. But I have never known a Grey who was anywhere near as great as this Amazon parrot.

    Eventually, I moved from Vancouver to Toronto and the vet told me it was very hard on birds to move them such a great distance. I had a friend who she liked very much and so I left her with my friend in Vancouver.

    Big mistake. I should have bought a car and driven across the country so I could take her with me.

    To Hell with the expense.

    P.S. It was also ridiculously easy to teach her to say phrases. But it sure didn't take long before I stopped doing that. Since she didn't know what any of the phrases meant, it just seemed kind of silly to have her repeat those phrases. I much preferred to find ways we could communicate about things.
    (This post was last modified: 10-26-2012, 05:57 AM by AliShibaz.)

    Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)
    Rant Central
    Speak Your Mind