Tag Archives | Animals

Chimps Easily Beat Humans In Complex Numeric Memory Tests

chimpsVia the Guardian, powerful mental abilities we ironically have lost through evolution:

In a landmark test of short-term memory conducted in public in 2007, the young chimp Ayumu demonstrated astonishing powers of recall, easily beating his human competitors, who had been in training for months.

“We’ve concluded through the cognitive tests that chimps have extraordinary memories,” Matsuzawa says. “They can grasp things at a glance. As a human, you will never be a match.”

Why do the latter have such vastly superior working memories? As humans evolved and acquired new skills – notably the ability to use language to communicate and collaborate –they lost others they once shared with their common simian ancestors.

The institute’s researchers are trying to find how far Ayumu can go before he falters. In the most recent tests, the number of digits [shown for a split second] has been increased from 1-9 to 1-19.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Scientist Attacked And Severely Injured By The Cloned Cow He Created

cloned cow

They’re coming for us. Via Intellihub News:

54-year-old Professor Park Se-pill of Jeju National University in South Korea was seriously injured after being attacked by a cloned cow that he created in 2009. He has suffered a spinal injury and 5 broken ribs and will need 8 months of treatment before recovering.

The researchers took cells from the ear of a bull before it was butchered in 2008. They kept these cells in cold storage before using them to fertilize eggs which were implanted into a cow.

“Park was video-recording a black cow, which he cloned from species indigenous to Jeju four years ago, and all of a sudden, it charged and attacked him for 15 minutes,” a school official said. “The 800-kilogram black cow is very strong because its cell donor was the best available. Park could not escape easily because he wore a special suit and long boots.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Non-Human Holders Of Political Office

mule_voteIs human status a requirement for holding the reigns of power? Via Wikipedia, a brief look at notable and heroic non-human electoral candidates:

Incitatus, the horse of Caligula, who it is alleged became a consul and a priest.

Boston Curtis, a brown mule, was offered as a candidate for a Republican precinct seat in Milton, Washington in 1938, winning 52 to zero.

In 1967, an Ecuadorian foot powder company advertised its product, Pulvapies, as a mayoral candidate in the town of Picoazá. Surprisingly, the foot powder won by a clear majority.

Pigasus the Immortal, a boar hog that the Yippies nominated as a candidate in the U.S. presidential election, 1968.

The mayor of Sunol, California was, for ten years (1981–1990), a black Labrador-Rottweiler named Bosco.

Tião, a bad-tempered chimpanzee, was put forward by the fictional Brazilian Banana Party (Partido Bananista Brasileiro, actually the satirical group Casseta & Planeta) as a candidate for the Rio de Janeiro mayoralty in 1988.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Emotional Lives of Animals

I HAZ A SMILEVia orwellwasright:

After over a century, mainstream scientists finally got around to acknowledging something anyone with pets or has watched nature documentaries has known all along – animals are conscious beings.

A year ago at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference, evidence of this obvious conclusion was presented by self-congratulatory scientists, despite the fact that only one of them had actually bothered to do any field research into wild animals and that field researchers had already made the same conclusion years before. As Michael Mountain at the Nonhuman Rights Project, which seeks to change the common law status of some nonhuman animals as “things”, stated: “Science leaders have reached a critical consensus: Humans are not the only conscious beings; other animals, specifically mammals and birds, are indeed conscious, too.”

Two of the primary reasons why it has taken so long for the scientific establishment to come to such self-evident conclusions are the nature of the study of psychology and consciousness itself, and the historical cultural values towards animals in the Western world.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Animals Are Mysteriously Getting Fatter

animal obesityOur pets are becoming obese, as well as pests and vermin…but bafflingly, so have laboratory rats given the same controlled diets that have been in use for decades. Could toxins, viruses, or some other factor be at play in humans and animals living in proximity to our society growing fatter decade after decade? Marginal Revolution writes:

In a remarkable paper Allison et al. (2011) gather data on the weight at mid-life from 12 animal populations covering 8 different species all living in human environments. Dividing the sample into male and female they find that in all 24 cases animal weight has increased over the past several decades.

Cats and dogs, for example, both increased in weight. Female cats increased in body weight at a rate of 13.6% per decade and males at 5.7% per decade.

The authors also looked at animals not directly under human control such as rats. For the 1948–2006 time period, male rats trapped in urban Baltimore experienced a 5.7 per cent increase in body weight per decade and a nearly 20 per cent increase in the odds of obesity.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A Jaguar In The Peruvian Jungle Tripping On Hallucinogenic Plants

Did humans discover the components of ayahuasca by observing animals? And when large cats go on a psychedelic trip in the jungle, what do they see? The Daily Grail reveals:
A jaguar in the Peruvian rain forest eating the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, one of the major constituents of the shamanic brew ayahuasca. (The jaguar seems to be affected somewhat by the vine.) To make things doubly interesting, one of the most commonly reported elements in ayahuasca visions are...jaguars! And these visions even seem to transcend cultural and geographical boundaries. Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo administered harmaline to 35 white, urban volunteers, without telling them the substance they were taking nor the expected effects. He was surprised to note that "strangely enough, tigers, leopards or jaguars were seen by seven subjects even though big cats are not seen in Chile."
Continue Reading

Will Translation Devices Soon Allow Us To Talk With Animals?

talk to animalsThe Atlantic speaks with Con Slobodchikoff, a professor of animal behavior at Northern Arizona University, who has spent 30 years decoding animal communications and believes we are approaching the point of breaching the human-animal language divide:

A computer science colleague of mine and I are using artificial intelligence techniques to keep a computer record of the call that prairie dogs were making, analyze it with these AI techniques, and then spit back the answer to us, which potentially could be in English. And then we could tell the computer something that we wanted to convey to the prairie dogs. And the computer could then synthesize the sounds and play it back to the prairie dogs.

The [prairie dogs] have word-like phonemes, combining those into sentence-like calls. They have social chatter. They can distinguish between types of predators that are nearby — dogs, coyotes, humans — and seem to have developed warnings that specify the predators’ species and size and color.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Pregnant Couple Prepares For ‘Dolphin-Assisted’ Birth

p125228-Cozumel-Our_dolphin_friendsIs amongst dolphins the best way for an infant to emerge into the world? I can see this going horribly wrong. Via Fox News:

A pregnant woman and her husband have traveled to Hawaii where they plan on having a “dolphin-assisted birth,” a water delivery among dolphins. Heather and Adam Barrington, of South Carolina, are preparing for the July arrival of their first child through a series of prenatal and postnatal swims with a pod of dolphins at The Sirius Institute in Pohoa, Hawaii.

The Sirius Institute describes itself as a “a research consortium with the purpose of ‘dolphinizing’ the planet.” They recently set up the Dolphin Attended, Water, Natural and Gentle Birth Center (DAWN), due to what they claim is an increasing demand on their web site for people looking to give birth near dolphins. The Sirius Institute claims that giving birth with dolphins is part of an ancient native Hawaiian practice.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Totem Animals for the Anthropocene

Picture: NARA (PD)

Picture: NARA (PD)

The new ecological paradigm is not nature with man-made systems interfering with it, but man-made systems with natural systems embedded in them. This vast man-made system encompasses the entire globe. There is no wilderness. There is no frontier. Nature has become completely co-opted by culture, but through chaos, randomness and unintended consequences, culture becomes nature once again.

In contrast to optimistic progress thinkers who believe human beings’ control of nature will steadily increase until we are ultimately able to live without it, I argue that the idea that we can completely dominate nature is an illusion. Nature is changing along with us

The Chernobyl Exclusion zone becomes a refuge for wolves and wild horses. Raccoons and coyotes take up residence in cities. Invasive species are on the rise.

As a person who practices shamanism, I no longer identify with federally protected endangered species, which are often tranquilized, radio-collared, inoculated, micro-chipped, poked, prodded and monitored from helicopters on a regular basis.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

India To Recognize Dolphins As “Non-Human Persons”

non-human persons

Are we moving beyond the human/animal binary? Via Environment News Service:

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to forbid the keeping of captive dolphins for public entertainment anywhere in the country. In a policy statement released Friday, the ministry said:

“[Their] unusually high intelligence as compared to other animals means that dolphin should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose.”

The grassroots Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization, FIAPO, was pleased with the decision. FIAPO spokesperson Puja Mitra called the decision “a huge victory for the dolphins!”

Ric O’Barry, director of the U.S.-based Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project, said, “Not only has the Indian government spoken out against cruelty, they have contributed to an emerging and vital dialogue about the ways we think about dolphins – as thinking, feeling beings.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading