read Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
Frans de Waal í 3 free read Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? review Ñ eBook or Kindle ePUB S to shame Based on research involving crows dolphins parrots sheep wasps bats whales and of course chimpanzees and bonobos Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too longPeople often assume a cognitive ladder from lower to higher forms with our own intelligence at the top But what if it is like a bush with cognition taking different forms th. Well some people are smart enough to know how smart animals are but some people are not It depends on whether experimenters can put themselves into the frame of the animal they are studying Testing an animal in the same way as one might test a human just doesn t cut it And this is the main theme of the book that researchers must test animals in accordance with their biology and move away from human centric approachesFrans de Waal has written a fabulous book about researching the intelligence of animals De Waal is a zoologist whose specialty is primates and he has been studying them for many years He is very well ualified to write this book not just about primates but about many types of animalsSo many researchers are uick to point out the differences between humans and animals De Waal came up with a metaphor for this approach that of an iceberg The vast underwater part of an iceberg represents the enormous similarities between humans and primates while the above water tip represents the differences Many researchers look exclusively at the differences while not even trying to notice the similarities They are continually trying to answer the uestion Mirror mirror on the wall who is the smartest of them all but this in de Waal s opinion this is just a waste of timePeople can even be intimidated by animals There is a story about the ape house in a British zoo where the chimpanzees were trained to have a genteel tea party The chimps had excellent manners and correctly imitated a polite society tea party But human spectators were intimidated and complained and even ignored the spectacle So the zookeepers retrained the apes to have a naughty tea party spitting and throwing tea around and causing havoc and the human spectators loved itThere is an Aesops fable about a crow and a pitcher The water level in the pitcher is too low for the crow s beak to reach it so the crow drops small pebbles into the pitcher in order to elevate the water level to the point where it is drinkable And yes you guessed it This behavior has been replicated in a laboratory Even though crows do not have a language at least not at any level of sophistication even approaching that of humans crows can think An animal does not reuire language in order to think And actually neither do humans need a language in order to thinkThis book is chock full of examples of animals that have thinking capabilities that are truly astonishing For example there is a bird named Alex that could respond to uestions about objects defining how they are different their material composition and not by rote as they were new unfamiliar objects and in the absence of the experimenter And Alex could count and do addition An experimenter would hide objects under three shells He would lift up the first shell revealing the objects then cover them up and lift up the second shell and so on Then Alex would speak the number of objects he saw in total A crow named Betty could bend straight wires into a hook in order to retrieve food from a tube the first evidence of a non primate making a tool Apes can have sudden insights for solving problems they are capable of inferential reasoning like understanding the meaning of the absence of something They are capable of deception And when it comes to tools some apes have been observed to carry around a toolkit consisting of five pieces of sticks of various shapes each of which is necessary to be used in seuence to retrieve honey Apes can spontaneously learn to brush their teeth ride bicycles light fires drive golf carts eat with a knife and fork peel potatoes and mop the floor Apes that are reared with humans learn best how to imitate humans They can imitate better than young children because they can selectively imitate actions that have favorable conseuences ignoring actions that are unfavorableApes are capable of deception as has been shown in a multitude of experiments For example orangutans are excellent escape artists They slowly dismantle their cages over a period of many days They keep the loosened screws in place or hidden in order to fool the humans until they are ready to make their break for freedomMany experiments with chimpanzees fail to result in meaningful conclusions Often experimenters try to understand the Theory of Mind of chimpanzees that is to understand how they see humans But this often fails because chimpanzees think of humans as omniscientThere are so many other examples of animal cognition There are elephants who can tell human languages apart as well as the gender and age of human speakers A female orangutan used a lettuce leaf like a hat using a mirror to aid in decorating herself Octopuses seem to play with new unfamiliar objects Dolphins are capable of metacognition that is to think about thinking And dolphins have uniue vocal signatures which they use like names to call one another Then there is the experiment that involved teaching a chimpanzee to recognize numbers written on a computer screen He would be shown nine single digit numbers for just a fifth of a second after which he would press the keys in the proper order that he saw for just that split second The crazy thing is that humans are only capable of remembering five such numbers in similar experiments even after trainingThe point of the book is to show that you simply cannot call one animal species smarter or dumber than another or smarter or dumber than humans on the basis of individual capabilities Each animal species has different abilities many of which exceed that of humans De Waal also blasts away at the behaviorists who maintain that what an animal thinks that is to say the internal state of animal is totally irrelevant The only thing that matters so they say is external stimuli and conditioned behavior De Waal shows over and over again the backwardness of this attitude and the incorrect conclusions that they reach concerning animal behaviorThis book provides a wonderful perspective on animal behavior The distinctions between animals and humans are not so strong as we would like to believe
free read Æ eBook or Kindle ePUB í Frans de Waal
Frans de Waal í 3 free read Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? review Ñ eBook or Kindle ePUB At are often incomparable to ours Would you presume yourself dumber than a suirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far intricate and complex than we have assumed De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal and human intelligence. For awhile Woodland Park Zoo in my hometown was in the midst of creating outdoor environments for most of its animals where they could run and hide through tall grasses and shrubbery climb trees jump on rocks or swim in ponds or swing on tires With every visit I saw fewer and fewer animals lived in small cement cages I had bought an annual pass which entitled me to go to the zoo whenever as often as I liked I worked near the zooI used to go to the gorilla display at the Zoo during my lunch hour on occasion There was one gorilla who seemed to enjoy sitting near the window which separated us humans from its outdoor compound I saw it come closer to the window whenever children were among the crowd of observers looking to interact with some excited child Since there was a solid glass pane between us and the gorilla it had to be something beyond food that interested the gorilla to want to play with the children Whenever I stopped there that gorilla looked at me Really truly looked at me I knew it was conscious curious interested intelligent I often saw my cat watching me especially when I did something unusual like trip over my feet eyes bright with curiosity or sometimes boredom or disgust and sometimes he seemingly was wondering what the heck Yes he really did seem to have a variety of expressions from the age of two which mirrored human emotions appropriately when I did stuff No it wasn t about a food reward or a coat brushing or an upcoming dreaded bath he had a set of very unmistakable reactions that were different on those occasions Outside the house I noticed his face set into a mask of inscrutability however inside my house he was physically and facially expressive friendly and talkative and abusive While it was obvious his skillset of expressions was based on a small set of black and white emotions one of them was clearly amusement especially when it was at my expense Sometimes I know he was feeling schadenfreude Bastard Really He was a bastard unknown parentage CatsIt is beyond me why so many scientists for hundreds of years have denied animals have cognition memory or planning skills At least some scientists today are finally agreeing with us ordinary folk that many animals have brains which are active with emotions and thought motivated by learning and feeling much the same as us even if not for the same causes or interests The Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine MRI has allowed scientists to see that when dogs see their owners for instance they have brain structures that activate similar to the locations in human brains which light up with pleasure Cats won t sit still in MRI machines Frankly I can t wait until someone comes up with a machine to see cat brains in actionFortunately many scientists have lately taken on the task to observe document and correlate actions of many animals to thinking memory planning and pleasure with experiments acceptable to most of the current scientific establishment Frans de Waal s book Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are describes many of these experiments observations and to me proofs many animals are intelligent albeit an intelligence dependent on the physiognomy of their bodies and on the things needed for their survival in their accustomed environmentDe Waal believes experiments are often designed from the human environmental paradigm or Umwelt which gives results when interpreted that show a lack of ability or a lack of certain high level aptitudes skills and brain function However designing the test appropriate to an animal s life and body shows remarkably different and actual high level cognition even if it is a cognition only appropriate to the animal s needs when in an environment it understandsFrom page 13The credo of experimental science remains that an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence If we fail to find a capacity in a given species our first thought ought to be Did we overlook something And the second should be Did our test fit the speciesThe book is written in plain English describing how animals responded when tested appropriately using tests designed for their interests and abilities Many animals hear sounds and see light and smell scents outside of our organic spectrum Some of them have a completely different brain construction Octopuses have a distributed brain for example Corvids apes elephants dolphins parrots octopuses and many other animals can pass three stage puzzles using a variety of tools such as a bunch of rocks and sticks in different lengths and shapes combining the tools provided in a self designed order to get a food tidbit despite no training Apes will make up a bag of their own tools hidden and saved for when needed Even sheep who have a reputation of incredible stupidity can recognize pictures of other individual sheep who look to us all alike Holy cow um holy sheepCognition should be interpreted from an animal s viewpoint of the issue What we see as a problem might be nothing essential to their world so maybe they don t care enough to solve it Animal brains might work out a different resolution to a problem than we would set up too Plus human bias can affect how scientists design tests For example in testing toddlers to compare with an ape s response children might be held in their mother s lap in a comfortable playroom while the ape is behind bars in a metal cage in a laboratory all alone separated from other apes and separated from its natural environmentThe author does not only describe laboratory tests and recorded animal responses in this book He tells about B F Skinner s 1904 1990 theory which until recently was the predominate one that animals are simple mechanical robots with one computer program running on a loop a stripped down version of the human one Mixed into lab examples refuting Skinner s theories are stories about actual observed behavior in zoos auariums owner s homes parrots and corvids and in the wild The stories are very amusing amazing and interesting I have always known animals are smart especially when in their own backyards so to speak but their brainy capacities are demonstratively far than what I knew The chapters are organized to describe associated proofs of certain animal capabilities and which highlight the part of brain cognition which is being exploredThe author is the C H Candler Professor in Emory University s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center The book has extensive Notes and Bibliography sections and an IndexYouTube link to smart crow Link to Alex the grey parrothttpsyoutubep0E1Wny5kCkOctopus escapes lidded jar link to smart apesFrans de Waal í 3 free read
Frans de Waal í 3 free read Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? review Ñ eBook or Kindle ePUB What separates your mind from an animal’s Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools your sense of self or your grasp of past and future all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species But in recent decades these claims have eroded or even been disproven outright by a revolution in the study of animal cognition Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age gender and language; or Ayumu the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of human. Instead of making humanity the measure of all things we need to evaluate other species by what they areThe field of animal cognition needs to take a lesson from the field of human education the multiple intelligence model Not every student will be good at every part of the curriculum but it s a rare person who isn t talented at anything Physical talent in sports or a love and understanding of nature count as kinds of intelligence acknowledging that the academic subjects are not necessarily the be all and end allDe Waal writes clearly and engagingly about the history of the study of animal intelligence pointing out the many prejudices that humans bring to this endeavour Human subjects are tested by a member of their own species and in surroundings that they are comfortable in Animal subjects are being tested by a member of another species whom they are not necessarily interested in and in a captive setting that adds to the stress of the situation Ask any university student about the stress of exams and they will tell you that it is not an ideal way to take testsHe points out that these studies are hampered by the human tendency to try to set ourselves outside the animal world to set a barrier between us and the rest of nature He also discusses our relationship with the apes especially our close link to the two chimpanzee species Being very hierarchically focused like chimps are we spend a lot of time trying to set ourselves at the top of our perceived hierarchy of nature We truly need to let go of this need to be superior and to evaluate other species according to their own talentsWhen I was a volunteer nature educator I was often asked about animals How smart are they I guess people were hoping to feel superior to other species My answer was always Just as smart as they need to be to survive Each species is adapted to its own environmental niche and is expert at living there I would recommend Mr de Waal s books to anyone interested in animal cognition or in ape studies in general
- Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
- Frans de Waal
- 05 December 2019