Animal Intelligence

From The Conversation

Reader Question: We now know from evolutionary science that humanity has existed in some form or another for around two million years or more. Homo sapiens are comparatively new on the block. There were also many other human species, some which we interbred with.

In pictures: The life of Ndakasi, a gorilla who went viral

Ndakasi, a beloved mountain gorilla who went viral after posing for a relaxed selfie with rangers, has died after a long illness aged 14.

The beavers returning to the desert

Standing at the edge of a precipice, under a scorching sun in eastern Utah, you can see nothing but the state’s infamous red rocks and towering buttes for miles.

Pigs can play video games with their snouts, scientists find

Pigs can play video games, scientists have found, after putting four fun-loving swine to the test. Four pigs - Hamlet, Omelette, Ebony and Ivory - were trained to use an arcade-style joystick to steer an on-screen cursor into walls.

Electric eels work together to zap prey

More than 200 years after the electric eel inspired the design of the first battery, it has been discovered that they can co-ordinate their "zaps". Researchers working in the Amazon filmed eels gathering in packs to herd prey, then stunning them with a synchronised electric shock.

Why do animals like to play?

Say you're walking your dog in the park, when he comes face to snout with another dog. An intricate dance begins, as if each movement was precisely choreographed. The dogs visually inspect each other, sniff each other, walk circles around each other. And then the fight begins.

From The MIT Press Reader

One of the key findings over the past decades is that our number faculty is deeply rooted in our biological ancestry, and not based on our ability to use language. Considering the multitude of situations in which we humans use numerical information, life without numbers is inconceivable.

Epic 7,500-mile cuckoo migration wows scientists

One of the longest migrations recorded by any land bird is about to be completed. Using a satellite tag, scientists have monitored a cuckoo that has just flown more than 7,500 miles (12,000km) from southern Africa to its breeding ground in Mongolia.

A Bee C: Scientists translate honeybee queen duets

Scientists using highly sensitive vibration detectors have decoded honeybee queens' "tooting and quacking" duets in the hive. Worker bees make new queens by sealing eggs inside special cells with wax and feeding them royal jelly.

When two baboon troops go to war

Two troops of baboons have been filmed going to war, with hundreds of monkeys entering into a pitched battle. The fight, filmed by the BBC Natural History Unit, appears to be triggered by male baboons attempting to steal females from the harems of rivals.

Unlocking meerkats' alarm calls

A study has shed light on how certain alarm cries made by meerkats are more effective than others at alerting the group to possible dangers.Researchers from Switzerland and South Africa suggest "non-linearities" make the cries "unpredictable", distinguishing them from other calls.

Gorillas 'ape humans' over games

Gorillas play competitive games just like humans, according to scientists at the University of St Andrews. The gorillas at San Francisco Zoo were observed over a period of five years playing with a variety of equipment.

Monkey invents new way to break into coconuts

The monkey, known as 'Pinocchio' by the scientists studying him due to his big nose, first rolls a nut down to the docks on the island of Cayo Santiago, which lies to the east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea. He then throws the nut up into the air and watches it smash onto concrete.

Chimps use cleavers and anvils as tools to chop food

For the first time, chimpanzees have been seen using tools to chop up and reduce food into smaller bite-sized portions. Chimps in the Nimba Mountains of Guinea, Africa, use both stone and wooden cleavers, as well as stone anvils, to process Treculia fruits.

Ants work with acacia trees to prevent elephant damage

A species of acacia tree found in Eastern Africa seems to be protected from elephant damage - by the ants that live on it.

Animals 'are moral beings'

Some animals can feel and think in ways not too dissimilar from us, welfare campaigners say. They say there is evidence of altruism, with some animals acting disinterestedly for the good of others.

Does city life make animals smarter?

Some thought they would be the Fort Knox of bins. Well, sort of. Resistant to marauding raccoons, or at least that was the hope. To residents of Toronto, Canada, raccoons are a familiar pest. The mammals adore rummaging through household waste, seeking out scraps of food.

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