Topic: Rooks and fables  (Read 7879 times)

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Offline Sirgod

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Rooks and fables
« on: August 07, 2009, 06:15:30 pm »
Very cool story here folks.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8181233.stm

One of Aesop's fables may have been based on fact, scientists report.

In the tale, written more than 2,000 years ago, a crow uses stones to raise the water level in a pitcher so it can reach the liquid to quench its thirst.

Now a study published in Current Biology reveals that rooks, a relative of crows, do just the same when presented with a similar situation.

The team says the study shows rooks are innovative tool-users, even though they do not use tools in the wild.

Another paper, published in the journal Plos One, shows that New Caledonian crows - which like rooks, are a member of the corvid group, along with ravens, jackdaws, magpies and jays - can use three tools in succession to reach a treat.

-----------------------

Video at link.

Stephen
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 09:33:50 pm »
More and more animals have been observed to make limited use of tools.

There are two things that I don't believe animals have been observed to do with tools:

1/ Keeping and maintaining a tool for future use.

2/ Making tools specifically for the purpose of making other tools in the future.

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Offline marstone

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 10:06:59 pm »
birds and other animals have used small sticks and such to poke in holes to get bugs out.

But I haven't see any documentation of the two points.

Side point no tools that kill better either.
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Offline Sirgod

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2009, 12:39:54 am »
I'm not Sure Mars, I could have sworn that I saw footage of a polar bear using a block of ice, or maybe a rock to kill a seal.

I also found this, which is interesting my friend.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070222-chimps-spears.html?source=rss

Chimps Use "Spears" to Hunt Mammals, Study Says
John Roach
for National Geographic News
February 22, 2007

For the first time, great apes have been observed making and using tools to hunt mammals, according to a new study. The discovery offers insight into the evolution of hunting behavior in early humans.

No fewer than 22 times, researchers documented wild chimpanzees on an African savanna fashioning sticks into "spears" to hunt small primates called lesser bush babies (bush baby photo).In each case a chimpanzee modified a branch by breaking off one or two ends and, frequently, using its teeth to sharpen the stick. The ape then jabbed the spear into hollows in tree trunks where bush babies sleep.

(Watch new video of a chimp retrieving a bush baby hunted with a "spear.")

When hunting in the hollows, "almost without fail, every time they would withdraw the tool, they would sniff it or lick it, and then proceed to stab it in there again," said Jill Pruetz, an anthropologist with Iowa State University who led the research in Senegal.

"And they did it so forcibly that our assumption is the bush babies would have been injured if there were always bush babies in the hollow," she continued.

Anthropologist and study co-author Paco Bertolani witnessed the single case in which a chimpanzee successfully extracted a bush baby with a spear. The ape subsequently tore apart and ate the smaller primate.

Bertolani "couldn't tell for sure if the bush baby was dead or not" when it was first taken from the hollow, Pruetz said of the graduate student from England's University of Cambridge.

"But it didn't make any vocalizations, didn't attempt to escape—that sort of thing. So we are hypothesizing they are using the tools to incapacitate the bush babies."

Primatologist Craig Stanford, who was not involved in the research, called the 22 observed instances of spearmaking "good evidence."

But the observation of only "one actual kill—and no visual evidence of the spear being used as a spear—weakens it," the University of Southern California (USC) professor said in an email.

The new report was published online today in the journal Current Biology. The National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration partially funded the project. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

----------------

More at link.

Stephen
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Offline marstone

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2009, 01:03:07 am »
I will have to read that. 

Will state now, I stand corrected. 

They use them to extract smaller primates from hollows in trees.  Similar to the chimps using sticks to get termites from mounds.  (exept instead of the termites attacking the stick and getting pulled out and licked off the stick, they impale the poor smaller primates pull them out and eat them)

Quote from story.

But the observation of only "one actual kill—and no visual evidence of the spear being used as a spear—weakens it," the University of Southern California (USC) professor said in an email.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2009, 01:25:47 am by marstone »
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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2009, 04:32:59 am »
There was another story recently on an experiment that confirmed self awareness of mynah birds. (something about coloured dots and mirrors) Not surprising to me. You only need see crows coordinate an attack/defense against a bald eagle once to understand. I seem to recall that long distance communication relays among groups and individual crows had been discovered in recent years as well. (Or perhaps an old guy had told me about it in recent years...)

Then there is the raven, when the air is still and a raven does a low flyby you can hear it rip through the air and feel its spirit pass by. There is something about these all-black (incredibly so - every exposed tissue) birds, the Native American lore fits very naturally.

In general, I am always amazed that people are surprised by observation of sentient behaviour in animals. I think it is a sort of self preservation mechanism in carnivores and omnivores; it is probably best not to dwell on the thoughts of your meal for too long lest you lose your appetite, yet to treat a kill with respect and reverence is a further abstraction of the process, and where we are falling down ourselves.

Viewing the reasons for the interest in such stories conversely, perhaps it is the case that most people feel the way I do and believe that all life is intelligent, self-aware and creative, just in varying degrees according to the complexity of the organism and it confirms our beliefs to see the results of such animal behaviour studies.

It is corny, but to me, in cases where the animal is complex enough to have "eyes", they truly are the window to the soul. Even a scallop with it's light sensitive organs and delicate structures affects me differently than a mussel. The compound eyes of arthropods/insects are quite alien and don't seem to provide as much feedback as the eyes of birds and mammals. Of course forward stereo vision provides the most feedback to us. (I was horrified when I made eye contact with a male silverback gorilla in a big city zoo - it was painfully sad and angry.)

There is something freaky about the thought of two(four) light sensitive organs connected to sentient processing focused on each other. I'm trying to think of an electronic analogy, but I don't think there is one...

Anyway, I'm rambling... but it makes me happy to see these stories. :)

Offline toasty0

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2009, 08:46:29 am »
Meat Is Murder
tasty, tasty, murder
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Offline Lepton

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2009, 11:31:31 am »
Meat Is Murder
tasty, tasty, murder
You really are that stupid, aren't you?  Weigh your remarks against the thoughtfulness of Bonk's self-deprecating remarks and the remarks of others in this thread and see if you think you've made a useful contribution here.


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Offline toasty0

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2009, 06:38:49 pm »
Meat Is Murder
tasty, tasty, murder
You really are that stupid, aren't you?  Weigh your remarks against the thoughtfulness of Bonk's self-deprecating remarks and the remarks of others in this thread and see if you think you've made a useful contribution here.


What're you trying to pretend to be now Lepton, the board of standards--going to censor the forum for us now? Why do you care so much what I do or post? You're obsession with me is starting to border on the creepy...

 
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2009, 08:13:17 pm »
Meat Is Murder
tasty, tasty, murder
You really are that stupid, aren't you?  Weigh your remarks against the thoughtfulness of Bonk's self-deprecating remarks and the remarks of others in this thread and see if you think you've made a useful contribution here.

Lepton knock off the personal attacks.  You should know better by now.

As I read Toasty's comment he was trying to be funny. 

You criticize Toasty for not contributing to the discussion but all you are contributing are flames.  How about a positive on topic posting?
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Offline FA Frey XC

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2009, 10:37:45 pm »
However, weighing in on the topic at hand, Toasty's comment was remarkably thoughtless and provoking.

While I agree that personal attacks are not needed, stirring the pot comments such as these are not needed either.

Consider yourself warned as well, Toasty.

I honestly wonder sometimes why I haven't just re-banned you.

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Offline marstone

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2009, 10:58:59 pm »
However, weighing in on the topic at hand, Toasty's comment was remarkably thoughtless and provoking.

While I agree that personal attacks are not needed, stirring the pot comments such as these are not needed either.

Consider yourself warned as well, Toasty.

I honestly wonder sometimes why I haven't just re-banned you.

Regards,

I took his comment as an off hand comment on the monkeys.

But guess each read things differently.

Summer might just be getting alittle to long I guess.
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Offline toasty0

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2009, 08:50:25 am »
However, weighing in on the topic at hand, Toasty's comment was remarkably thoughtless and provoking.

While I agree that personal attacks are not needed, stirring the pot comments such as these are not needed either.

Consider yourself warned as well, Toasty.

I honestly wonder sometimes why I haven't just re-banned you.

Regards,

Warned for what?! Who did I demean or insult?

What I posted was funny and should have been seen as nothing other than funny and innocuous. It was NOT directed at Bonk!

Bonk did not post anyting self-deprecating, imho. That's implies something about Bonk's post I seriously disagree with. He shared, but it was not self-deprecating. I did not mock Bonk and anyone who thinks I did can kiss my keyboard.

marstone understood. Yes, maybe I could have posted why I think it is dangerous to romanticize "animal intelligence", and especially primate behaviour, instead I chose to encapsulate it with a bit 'o humor in 10 words or less. That Lepton tried to characterize my post as anything more is beyond me. That you agree with Lepton surprises me.

I have followed the rules Frey. I have also posted very little here lately (past several months) with the exception of posting an occasional joke or jest or something in engineering that I thought would be helpful to some members--of which Lepton continues to belittle at any opportunity.

Want me to leave Frey just hit me up on IM. Tell me the same way you invited me back. I'll miss some of the gang here, but hell, I don't want to be an unwanted guest in your house.

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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2009, 09:36:25 am »
I was the thread hijacker here. Toasty's reply gave me a chuckle, it indicated he understood the nut of what I was saying. Everybody just chill.

The study of animal behaviour is fascinating. Lets get back to discussing that, sorry if I led us astray.

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2009, 09:59:48 am »
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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2009, 10:10:22 am »
... all that said, I'm going to merrily continue with my thread hijack anyway,  ;D this is as close as it will get to on topic anyway... perhaps it deserves it's own thread but...

Yesterday I came across this:
Quote
"In England, a law was recently introduced making it illegal to sell anything but free-range chickens in grocery stores. The entire industry has had to change. But it took years of consumer pressure to move the government’s hand."

http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/08/07/f-seafood.html

I think it is time we did the same... This was reinforced in me as yesterday I also watched a good portion of the Julia Child special on PBS/WGBH. What really struck me was when she had all the types/ages of market chicken of the day all lined up. The 6 Lb roaster she selected was 5-9 months old. She instructed on how to age a carcass by the flexibility and development of the lower breastbone. She also made mention of growth hormones and how to detect what she called a "fake, puffed-up chicken".

I have not been able to eat commercial north american chicken for quite some time. I used to be able to back when it tasted and felt like real meat. I'd like to be able to eat chicken again. I expect I am not the only one, as seafood consumption seems to have risen sharply in recent years, and when you look at the ubiquity of "chickenoid" products in our diet it is really amazing how it is everywhere. Phood farms... we need to get rid of them. We need to speak out as consumers and ... <insert "mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore" routine here>

Now the chicken is not the brightest bird, but I expect that is largely due to environment and domesticated genetics. Nevertheless, if it has a reasonably good quality of life for the short time it has and is killed with respect, I guarantee it will taste better, it will taste like the chicken we remember eating as children.

The same way that consumers have embraced the concept of "fair trade coffee", we need to make similar allowances for domestic meat production, especially considering the scale of consumption we are dealing with.  Moderation and old fashioned values are needed here, the concepts of kosher, halal are sort of missing in western culture, I think we should embrace the Native American philosophy of respect for meat consumption, it is appropriate to our location.

Sorry for ranting again, but I expect at least a few of you enjoy them.  :)

Offline toasty0

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2009, 10:19:46 am »
I'd be interested to know how this would affect the economies of cost for the end consumer. Would banning the assemblyline chicken production so drive up the cost as to make a staple like chicken for lower income families unaffordable?
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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2009, 11:15:44 am »
Well, a higher price is sort of implied, but if we went back to more local production, where possible, instead of huge farms and processing facilities to minimise costs and maximise profits, cutting out middlemen and creating more income and local employment in the production of a value added product would result in a net improvement in economic health from a local perspective.

Mass production works for some things, meat is not one of them.

Another counter to that question is that I expect if you look at north American obesity stats as related to income you will find that reduction of excessive protein, fat and hormone/antibiotic consumption may actually effect an improvement in the health of the economic classes you might expect would experience adverse effects.

And I think it's pretty bad when I can't even eat the stuff. Should we be feeding that to anyone? (regardless of income)

We tread on the political here, so ultimately my primary interest in the subject is selfish and is related to taste, quality dining experience and nutrition. I just miss the old fashioned roast chicken that was so tasty.

Offline Sirgod

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2009, 12:31:23 pm »
I swear I am going to have to get you all down here one day. I gave up on commercial beef, and now only raise them to sell at auction. Let someone else have that headache.

My cows though, are pretty much free range. They run a circuit through the whole place, only to return to the front about 5.

A few years back, the wife wanted to get into Chickens. (this was before we had the big place here.) anyways, They where insane. The amount of time spent trying to raise those things, and then turn around and kill, clean and freeze them I'll never do it again. (For one reason, Because I hate chicken with every fiber of my body. I would rather Dine with Ira Einhart in France, on cabbage leaves smothered in a fat ladies sweat, then eat chicken.)

As for Toasty, man I took it as a joke also. What with him knowing what I do for a living.

Stephen
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2009, 05:55:04 pm »
Back closer to the original topic.

Link to full article

Quote
They have also compiled a list of the most intelligent and least intelligent breeds using information from obedience classes. Border collies and retrievers were rated among the most intelligent while hounds and terriers were the least bright.

"The average dog is about as bright linguistically as a human two-year-old," said Professor Stanley Coren, a leading expert on canine intelligence at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver who has carried out the work.

"This means they can understand about 165 words, signs and signals. Those in the top 20 per cent were able to understand as many as 250 words and signals, which is about the same as a two and a half year old.


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