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sydneyst
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 Posted: Mon Jun 19th, 2017 07:58 pm

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Japanese Puffer Fish--Marine Picasso

https://www.google.com/search?q=japenese+puffer+fish+bbc&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Attached Image (viewed 37 times):

japanesepuffer.jpg

Last edited on Mon Jun 19th, 2017 08:03 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sat Aug 13th, 2016 05:15 pm

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Rich Little Is a Rank Impersonator
Compared to This Guy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0ZffIh0-NA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjE0Kdfos4Y

 

Last edited on Sat Aug 13th, 2016 05:20 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Apr 13th, 2016 07:18 pm

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How Inky Pulled It Off


Inky the octopus and other great escapes – video

Last edited on Wed Apr 13th, 2016 07:27 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Apr 13th, 2016 07:13 pm

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Octopus Inky Plays Houdini



The great escape: Inky the octopus legs it to freedom from aquarium


see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/13/the-great-escape-inky-the-octopus-legs-it-to-freedom-from-new-zealand-aquarium


Staff believe the common New Zealand octopus fled its enclosure when the lid was left ajar and headed to freedom down a pipe that leads to the sea.

An octopus has made a brazen escape from the national aquarium in New Zealand by breaking out of its tank, slithering down a 50-metre drainpipe and disappearing into the sea. In scenes reminiscent of Finding Nemo, Inky – a common New Zealand octopus – made his dash for freedom after the lid of his tank was accidentally left slightly ajar.

Staff believe that in the middle of the night, while the aquarium was deserted, Inky clambered to the top of his glass enclosure, down the side of the tank and travelled across the floor of the aquarium.
Rob Yarrell, national manager of the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier, said: “Octopuses are famous escape artists.

“But Inky really tested the waters here. I don’t think he was unhappy with us, or lonely, as octopus are solitary creatures. But he is such a curious boy. He would want to know what’s happening on the outside. That’s just his personality.”

One theory is that Inky slid across the aquarium floor – a journey of three or four metres – and then, sensing freedom was at hand, into a drainpipe that lead directly to the sea.

The drainpipe was 50 metres long, and opened on to the waters of Hawke’s Bay, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

Another possible escape route could have involved Inky squeezing into an open pipe at the top of his tank, which led under the floor to the drain.

“When we came in the next morning and his tank was empty, I was really surprised,” said Yarrell, who has not launched a search for Inky.


Last edited on Wed Apr 13th, 2016 07:36 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Tue Apr 16th, 2013 07:20 pm

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Mirror Experiment Shows Elephant Self-Awareness

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/31/science/31observ.html?_r=0

By HENRY FOUNTAIN Published: October 31, 2006

For those who study the development of intelligence in the animal kingdom, self-awareness is an important measurement. An animal that is aware of itself has a high level of cognitive ability.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report that an Asian elephant has passed the mirror self-recognition test.

“We thought that elephants were the next important candidate,” said Diana Reiss of the Wildlife Conservation Society, an author of the study with Joshua M. Plotnik and Frans B. M. de Waal of Emory University. With their large, complex brains, empathetic and altruistic behavior and elaborate social organization, Dr. Reiss said, elephants “seemed like cognitive cousins to apes and dolphins.”

The researchers tested Happy, Maxine and Patty, three females at the Bronx Zoo, where the conservation society is based. They put an eight-foot-square mirror on a wall of the animals’ play area (out of view of zoo visitors) and recorded what happened with video cameras, including one embedded in the mirror.

The elephants exhibited behavior typical of other self-aware animals. They checked out the mirror, in some cases using their trunks to explore what was behind it, and used it to examine parts of their bodies.

Of the three, Happy then passed the critical test, in which a visible mark was painted on one side of her face. She could only tell the mark was there by looking in the mirror, and she used the mirror to touch the mark with her trunk.

Dr. Reiss said it was not unusual that only one of the three elephants passed this test; with other self-aware species, large numbers of individuals don’t pass the test either.

But the result with Happy, she said, is a “beautiful case of cognitive convergence” with other self-aware animals. “We knew elephants were intelligent, but now we can talk about their intelligence in a more specific way.”

Last edited on Tue Apr 16th, 2013 07:27 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2013 03:05 pm

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Paper Details Elephant Abilities to Learn

http://natureinstitute.org/pub/ic/ic5/elephant.htm

excerpts:

The elephant is well known for its intelligent behavior. Let's look at various examples of non-trained elephant behavior:
If he cannot reach some part of his body that itches with his trunk, he doesn't always rub it against a tree: he may pick up a long stick and give himself a good scratch with that instead. If one stick isn't long enough he will look for one that is. (1, p. 78) Elephants have picked up objects in their environments and thrown them directly at me, undertrunk, with surprising, sometimes painful, accuracy.

These projectiles have included large stones, sticks, a Kodak film box, my own sandal, and a wildebeest bone.... Elephants have been known to intentionally throw things at each other in the same circumstances: during escalated fights and during play. Elephants have been known to intentionally throw or drop large rocks and logs on the live wires of electric fences, either breaking the wire or loosening it such that it makes contact with the earth wire, thus shorting out the fence. (2, p. 139)

[In India an] elephant was following a truck and, upon command, was pulling logs out of it to place in pre-dug holes in preparation for a ceremony. The elephant continued to follow his master's commands until they reached one hole where the elephant would not lower the log into the hole but held it in mid-air above the hole. When the mahout [elephant driver] approached the hole to investigate, he found a dog sleeping at the bottom; only after chasing the dog away would the elephant lower the post into the hole. (3, p. 137)

Many young elephants develop the naughty habit of plugging up the wooden bell they wear around their necks with good stodgy mud or clay so that the clappers cannot ring, in order to steal silently into a grove of cultivated bananas at night. There they will have a whale of a time quietly stuffing, eating not only the bunches of bananas but the leaves and indeed the whole tree as well, and they will do this just beside the hut occupied by the owner of the grove, without waking him or any of his family. (1, p.78)


Figure 2. Brains of human being, pilot whale and elephant, viewed from the side. Drawn to scale (bar = 10 cm.) (1) cerebrum. (1a) temporal lobe of cerebrum. (2) cerebellum. (From 5. Copyright 1970 by Springer-Verlag. Reprinted by permission.)






Figure 3
. Brains of human being, pilot whale and elephant, viewed from below. Drawn to scale (bar = 10 cm.) Note the very large temporal lobe (1a) of the elephant brain. Roman numerals indicate cranial nerves. The olfactory nerves leading to the trunk (3) are especially developed in the elephant. (1) cerebrum. (2) cerebellum. (From 5. Copyright 1970 by

Last edited on Tue Apr 16th, 2013 07:25 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Mon Dec 3rd, 2012 07:30 am

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Elephants recognise themselves in mirror

i-c8e991917ad59811de94c7599ac99ede-Asianelephant.jpg
Posted by Ed Yong on September 28, 2008

Elephants are highly intelligent and very empathic. They have been known to help each other and may even mourn their dead. Plotnik, together with Frans de Waal and Diana Reiss, set out to test for self-awareness in three Asian elephants.

The mirror test
The classic way of testing an animal for self-awareness is to see if it can recognise itself in a mirror. On first glance, all species react in the same way, by making the appropriate social gestures, inspecting the mirror, and often checking behind it to look for the stranger. But a self-aware animal goes further – it starts to conduct repetitive tests, such as touching its face to see if the reflection follows suit. After a while, it starts to understand that the mirror image is itself.

Researchers test for this awareness by seeing if the animal can touch a mark on its body that it couldn’t otherwise see and that’s exactly what Plotnik did with three Asian elephants at New York’s Bronx Zoo. The trio, named Happy, Maxine and Patty, were given a literally jumbo-sized mirror in their yard.

When the mirror was revealed, each elephant started to spend more time with it. They started to investigate the mirror and the wall it was mounted on with their trunks, peering behind or under it. As the days went on, they started investigating the mirror less and less. None of them made any attempt to socially interact with their reflection and they would do things that they would normally avoid when directly in front of other elephants, like eating.

They also started to make unusual body and trunk movements in front of the mirror in the same way that a person would check out a new outfit in a dressing room. They were clearly examining their own bodies, pulling their ears or sticking their trunks in their mouths, in a way that they never did without the mirror.

tend to fail too, but their main sense is smell not sight.

Last edited on Mon Dec 3rd, 2012 07:39 am by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sat Oct 27th, 2012 11:52 am

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 Study: Male beluga whale mimics human speech


Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - Page updated at 11:30 p.m.The Associated Press

It could be the muffled sound of singing in the shower or that sing-songy indecipherable voice from the Muppets' Swedish Chef.

Surprisingly, scientists said the audio they captured was a whale imitating people. In fact, the whale song sounded so eerily human that divers initially thought it was a human voice.

Handlers at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego heard mumbling in 1984 coming from a tank containing whales and dolphins that sounded like two people chatting far away.

It wasn't until one day, after a diver surfaced from the tank and asked, "Who told me to get out?" did researchers realize the garble came from a captive male Beluga whale. For several years, they recorded its spontaneous sounds while it was underwater and when it surfaced.

An acoustic analysis revealed the human-like sounds were several octaves lower than typical whale calls. The research was published online Monday in Current Biology.

Scientists think the whale's close proximity to people allowed it to listen to and mimic human conversation. It did so by changing the pressure in its nasal cavities. After four years of copying people, it went back to sounding like a whale, emitting high-pitched noises. It died five years ago.

Dolphins and parrots have been taught to mimic the patterns of human speech, but it's rare for an animal to do it spontaneously.

The study is not the first time a whale has sounded human. Scientists who have studied sounds of white whales in the wild sometimes heard what sounded like shouting children. Caretakers at the Vancouver Aquarium in Canada previously said they heard one of the white whales say its name.

Last edited on Tue Apr 16th, 2013 07:25 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Fri Dec 30th, 2011 04:23 pm

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Orangutans 'could video chat' between zoos via iPads

By Dave Lee Technology reporter, BBC

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16354093

Advertisement

MJ, an orangutan at Milwaukee County Zoo, plays with the tablet computer. Footage courtesy of Orangutan Outreach

excerpts:

Orangutans at a Milwaukee zoo could soon be video-calling their primate friends via tablet computers.

The hairy tech fans have been playing with iPads since they were first introduced to them in May.

Conservationist Richard Zimmerman said the next step would be to provide wi-fi access - meaning the apes could watch orangutans in other zoos.

He hopes the experiment will raise awareness and funds to support the wild animals facing extinction.

Mr Zimmerman, from the US-based charity Orangutan Outreach, said he had wanted to give the device to the animals ever since it was launched back in January 2010.

"The original idea came literally when Steve Jobs gave his opening presentation introducing the iPad," he said.  They began introducing simple apps, such as drawing game Doodle Buddy, to orangutans at Milwaukee County Zoo.

Mr Zimmerman said the idea was to provide a "bit of fun" for the animals, who only get to use the devices for two short periods every week.

"What we really want to do is to allow the orangutans to really play - to do paintings, to watch videos, to do almost as a human child would do with basic curiosity."



The zoo keepers want to build reinforced tablets so they can let the orangutans play without human help.

 
The animals have, Mr Zimmerman said, been captivated by watching television on the devices, particularly when it featured other orangutans, and even more so when they saw faces they recognised.

"They love moving images. They love bright things. They like to be entertained!

"They love new things, so one of the first things we're going to do to incorporate that is make sure the facilities have wi-fi capabilities so that the orangutans can actually have access to unlimited information - of course with the keepers guiding them."


Attenborough fan
He said the most exciting aspect of all was watching how the animals reacted to seeing themselves, and other apes on screen.

"Orangutans love looking at each other," said Mr Zimmerman, adding that one of the apes, 31-year-old MJ, is a fan of David Attenborough programmes.

"The orangutans loved seeing videos of themselves - so there is a little vanity going on - and they like seeing videos of the orangutans who are in the other end of the enclosure.

"So if we incorporate cameras, they can watch each other."

 

Although the animals are being extensively observed by zoo keepers, so far no formal behavioural research is taking place - something that is likely to change in the near future.



MJ paints a picture on the tablet - with the help of her keeper


"All of this is done as a form of enrichment, to exercise their minds, and keep them active and emotionally healthy," Jennifer Diliberti said.

"The work being done now with the iPads is simply a first step, and it's quite exciting."



Last edited on Fri Dec 30th, 2011 04:30 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sun May 1st, 2011 12:25 pm

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Yes Magazine Reviews Intelligent Animal Behavior

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/can-animals-save-us/we-second-that-emotion?b_start:int=0&-C=


by Marc Bekoff

posted Mar 02, 2011
excerpts

Photos courtesy of iStock,

Scientific research shows that many animals are very intelligent and have sensory and motor abilities that dwarf ours. Dogs are able to detect diseases such as cancer and diabetes and warn humans of impending heart attacks and strokes. Elephants, whales, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and alligators use low-frequency sounds to communicate over long distances, often miles; and bats, dolphins, whales, frogs, and various rodents use high-frequency sounds to find food, communicate with others, and navigate.

Many animals also display wide-ranging emotions, including joy, happiness, empathy, compassion, grief, and even resentment and embarrassment. It’s not surprising that animals—especially, but not only, mammals—share many emotions with us because we also share brain structures—located in the limbic system—that are the seat of our emotions. In many ways, human emotions are the gifts of our animal ancestors. 

Grief in magpies and red foxes: Saying goodbye to a friend
Many animals display profound grief at the loss or absence of a relative or companion. Sea lion mothers wail when watching their babies being eaten by killer whales. People have reported dolphins struggling to save a dead calf by pushing its body to the surface of the water. Chimpanzees and elephants grieve the loss of family and friends, and gorillas hold wakes for the dead. Donna Fernandes, president of the Buffalo Zoo, witnessed a wake for a female gorilla, Babs, who had died of cancer at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. She says the gorilla’s longtime mate howled and banged his chest; picked up a piece of celery, Babs’ favorite food; put it in her hand; and tried to get her to wake up.

I once happened upon what seemed to be a magpie funeral service. A magpie had been hit by a car. Four of his flock mates stood around him silently and pecked gently at his body. One, then another, flew off and brought back pine needles and twigs and laid them by his body. They all stood vigil for a time, nodded their heads, and flew off.





Photo by Paul Huber

I also watched a red fox bury her mate after a cougar had killed him. She gently laid dirt and twigs over his body, stopped, looked to make sure he was all covered, patted down the dirt and twigs with her forepaws, stood silently for a moment, then trotted off, tail down and ears laid back against her head. After publishing my stories I got emails from people all over the world who had seen similar behavior in various birds and mammals.


Empathy Among Elephants
A few years ago while I was watching elephants in the Samburu National Reserve in Northern Kenya with elephant researcher Iain Douglas-Hamilton, I noticed a teenaged female, Babyl, who walked very slowly and had difficulty taking each step. I learned she’d been crippled for years, but the other members of her herd never left her behind. They’d walk a while, then stop and look around to see where she was. If Babyl lagged, some would wait for her. If she’d been left alone, she would have fallen prey to a lion or other predator. Sometimes the matriarch would even feed Babyl. Babyl’s friends had nothing to gain by helping her, as she could do nothing for them. Nonetheless, they adjusted their behavior to allow Babyl to remain with the group.

Shirley and Jenny: Remembering Friends





Photo by Evan Long

Elephants have strong feelings. They also have great memory. They live in matriarchal societies in which strong social bonds among individuals endure for decades. Shirley and Jenny, two female elephants, were reunited after living apart for 22 years. They were brought separately to the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., to live out their lives in peace, absent the abuse they had suffered in the entertainment industry. When Shirley was introduced to Jenny, there was an urgency in Jenny’s behavior. She wanted to get into the same stall with Shirley. They roared at each other, the traditional elephant greeting among friends when they reunite. Rather than being cautious and uncertain about one another, they touched through the bars separating them and remained in close contact. Their keepers were intrigued by how outgoing the elephants were. A search of records showed that Shirley and Jenny had lived together in a circus 22 years before, when Jenny was a calf and Shirley was in her 20s. They still remembered one another when they were inadvertently reunited.


A Grateful Whale
In December 2005 a 50-foot, 50-ton, female humpback whale got tangled in crab lines and was in danger of drowning. After a team of divers freed her, she nuzzled each of her rescuers in turn and flapped around in what one whale expert said was “a rare and remarkable encounter.” James Moskito, one of the rescuers, recalled that, “It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing it was free and that we had helped it.” He said the whale “stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun.” Mike Menigoz, another of the divers, was also deeply touched by the encounter: “The whale was doing little dives, and the guys were rubbing shoulders with it … . I don’t know for sure what it was thinking, but it’s something I will always remember.”

Last edited on Sun Feb 10th, 2013 02:52 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Apr 6th, 2011 03:28 am

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More Than a Pretty Bird

The Story of N'Kisi the Telepathic Parrot

http://www.sheldrake.org/nkisi/

THE N'KISI PROJECT:
© Aimee Morgana 2002
The N'kisi Project is a series of controlled experiments and ongoing research in interspecies communication and telepathy conducted by Aimee Morgana and her language-using parrot N'kisi. The images shown above are stills from the video document "Initial Interspecies Telepathy Experiments", a research project with the collaboration and support of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake.

Interspecies Telepathy Experiments
N'kisi would often describe what Aimee was thinking about, reading, or looking at in situations where there were no possible ordinary clues. When Aimee saw Rupert Sheldrake's book Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home she contacted him, and they collaborated in designing an experiment to try to replicate and document this phenomenon under controlled conditions.

Conclusion:
As this study was strictly controlled against cues from any normal sensory means, and chance coincidence has been ruled out, these experiments provide compelling evidence of interspecies telepathy. This phenomenon is currently unexplained within the dominant scientific model.... The fact that these experiments statistically prove that N'kisi's use of speech is not random also gives evidence of his sentience and intentional use of language.

 Though our work is just beginning, N'kisi has already shown aspects of intelligence that animals were thought to be incapable of, particularly a species that shares so little genetic similarity with humans. Globally, parrots are the most endangered of all birds, with the greatest number of species currently facing extinction due to poaching and habitat destruction. We hope our work will help people to realize the amazing abilities and awareness of these intelligent birds, and encourage greater care of these precious beings and the planetary environment we share.







About N'kisi:
 

N'kisi is a captive bred, hand raised Congo African Gray Parrot. He is 4-1/2 years old, and his species has a life span similar to humans. He has received teaching in the use of language for 4 years. He is now one of the world's top "language-using" animals, with an apparent understanding and appropriate usage of over 700 words.



Aimee intuitively taught N'kisi as one would a child, by explaining things to him in context. (This goes beyond typical interactions with a "pet", involving many hours per day of teaching and conversations.) He is treated as a member of the family. N'kisi was not trained like a performing animal, and does not just mimic or use speech "on cue".



Instead, he has been allowed to develop his own creative relationship to language as a means of self-expression. N'kisi speaks in sentences, showing a grasp of grammar in formulating his own original expressions. He is capable of actual conversations. He often initiates comments about what we are doing, feeling, looking at, thinking, etc, which is how we discovered his ability to read minds. N'kisi often demonstrates telepathy in spontaneous situations, and also communicates love, compassion, and a keen sense of humor. Language-using animals are like "animal ambassadors" helping to bridge the worlds of other species with our own. In the wild, parrots live in large flocks with complex social interactions, which have yet to be studied. 


... Aimee has been working with parrots since 1985. Her goal is to establish a true communicative dialogue with a member of another species. Unlike laboratory researchers, Aimee decided to give N'kisi "dominance" in their relationship, relinquishing control to open the door for his creativity. She wanted to find out what a parrot might actually have to say, which would reveal fascinating information about how these animals think.



Aimee's ongoing work with N'Kisi illustrates her concept of "partnership research," an approach which honors and explores the close relationships people can have with animals as friends and teachers. Aimee is part of an emerging group of conceptually based artists interested in exploring our human relationship with Nature in work dealing with animals, biology, environmental concerns, and quantum aspects of consciousness. 
 


video on Alex, the parrot who revolutionized understanding of animal intelligence:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4gTR4tkvcM&feature=related 

Forthcoming Research
... Another series of telepathy experiments, using videotaped source imagery
... An ongoing video surveillance project to record N'kisi's creative use of language, as well as spontaneous telepathy. (We are currently seeking funding for the necessary equipment and related expenses. Donations of any size would be gratefully appreciated. If you would like to help support this groundbreaking research project, please email Dr. Sheldrake at this website.)

Journal of Scientific Exploration



Last edited on Wed Apr 6th, 2011 03:46 am by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sat Mar 19th, 2011 05:57 pm

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Octopus Mimics Flounder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNLZKrd0Nzs

clever strategy to avoid predation?

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 Posted: Wed Sep 8th, 2010 05:39 pm

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Video Shows Bonnie Whistling

Bonnie Whistling:

http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=100875176&m=101087596

Bonnie Kissing Her New Friend Kyle:

  http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=100875176&m=100894751



Last edited on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 05:50 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Sep 8th, 2010 05:32 pm

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Orang at Washington Zoo Teaches Herself to Whistle

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100875176


February 20, 2009 At the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., Bonnie the orangutan has been amazing researchers with her special talent: Bonnie knows how to whistle. Those notes are a symphony to the ears of primate researchers who believe her musical abilities could lead to a greater understanding of how human speech evolved.

"I think what makes it significant is that you can train apes to whistle, but no one trained her to do it. She decided to do it on her own," says Erin Stromberg, who works in the National Zoo's Great Ape house and helps care for the orangutans.

Stromberg helped publish a recent paper on Bonnie's talents. Researchers believe Bonnie was trying to imitate the sounds of zookeepers who whistle while they work. Stromberg says Bonnie's ability to copy that sound is powerful evidence that apes can re-create the sounds of other species.

"So what's significant about Bonnie learning to whistle is not that she's able to do it, it's that she saw someone else do it and just picked it up," Stromberg says.

Bonnie is 32 years old, with dark orange hair and a big round belly, and weighs in at a svelte 140 pounds. She lives in a concrete enclosure with plenty of things to climb up and swing down. A large window allows spectators to look in, and Bonnie to look right back at them.

Bonnie has been mimicking her zookeepers' movements for years. She likes to sweep the floors and wash the windows, although she uses dirty rags to do it.

When she started whistling, researchers decided to test her gift for mimicking sounds. They asked Stromberg to whistle basic patterns to see whether Bonnie could copy them. It turned out to be easier for the ape than for the human — Stromberg isn't a great whistler — so the researchers kept it simple.

"I would give a long whistle, and would she then in turn imitate me? Or if I do a short whistle, would she do a short whistle? And she would," Stromberg says. "She was pretty good at following what I was doing. I think what makes it significant is that she decided to do it on her own. Something made her want to whistle, or at least try it out. And so to me, she was challenging herself to do something else."

Last edited on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 05:35 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 09:20 pm

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Elephant Moms Help Daughters on First Dates

http://www.elephanttrust.org/node/665


 
Thu, 2010-04-22 06:10 by hcroze · Forum/category:

A new paper led by one of our research collaborators, Lucy Bates from St. Andrews University, has shown it is quite likely that experienced females demonstrate to their naive young daughters in their first oestrus how to attract the attention of appropriate bulls.

It's another example of the amazing depth and subtlety of elephant behaviour that we can only come to understand through our long-term research.

The paper – Bates LA, Handford R, Lee PC, Njiraini N, Poole JH, Sayialel K, Sayialel S, Moss C and Byrne RW. (2010) Why Do African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) Simulate Oestrus? An Analysis of Longitudinal Data. PLoS ONE 5(4): e10052. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010052 – can be found here.

Abstract

Female African elephants signal oestrus via chemicals in their urine, but they also exhibit characteristic changes to their posture, gait and behaviour when sexually receptive. Free-ranging females visually signal receptivity by holding their heads and tails high, walking with an exaggerated gait, and displaying increased tactile behaviour towards males.

Parous females occasionally exhibit these visual signals at times when they are thought not to be cycling and without attracting interest from musth males. Using demographic and behavioural records spanning a continuous 28-year period, we investigated the occurrence of this ‘‘simulated’’ oestrus behaviour.

We show that parous females in the Amboseli elephant population do simulate receptive oestrus behaviours, and this false oestrus occurs disproportionately in the presence of naïve female kin who are observed coming into oestrus for the first time. We compare several alternative hypotheses for the occurrence of this simulation:
  1. false oestrus has no functional purpose (e.g., it merely results from abnormal hormonal changes);
  2. false oestrus increases the reproductive success of the simulating female, by inducing sexual receptivity; and
  3. false oestrus increases the inclusive fitness of the simulating female, either by increasing the access of related females to suitable males, or by encouraging appropriate oestrus behaviours from female relatives who are not responding correctly to males.
Although the observed data do not fully conform to the predictions of any of these hypotheses, we rule out the first two, and tentatively suggest that parous females most likely exhibit false oestrus behaviours in order to demonstrate to naïve relatives at whom to direct their behaviour.

Last edited on Sun Apr 25th, 2010 09:22 pm by sydneyst


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