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5733 No. 5733 ID: 697c94
Goats learn how to solve complicated tasks quickly and can recall how to perform them for at least 10 months, which might explain their remarkable ability to adapt to harsh environments, say researchers at Queen Mary University of London.

Writing in the journal Frontiers in Zoology today, the scientists trained a group of goats to retrieve food from a box using a linked sequence of steps; first by pulling a lever with their mouths and then by lifting it to release the reward.
The goats' ability to remember the task was tested after one month and again at 10 months. They learned the task within 12 trials and took less than two minutes to remember the challenge.
"The speed at which the goats completed the task at 10 months compared to how long it took them to learn indicates excellent long-term memory," said co-author Dr Elodie Briefer, now based at ETH Zurich.

Before each learning session, some of the goats had the opportunity to watch another goat to demonstrate the task.
Dr Briefer added: "We found that those without a demonstrator were just as fast at learning as those that had seen demonstrations. This shows that goats prefer to learn on their own rather than by watching others."

This is the first time that scientists have investigated how goats learn complex physical cognition tasks, which could explain why they are so adaptable to harsh environments and good at foraging for plants in the wild, for example.
Co-author Dr Alan McElligott from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, commented: "Our results challenge the common misconception that goats aren't intelligent animals - they have the ability to learn complex tasks and remember them for a long time.

"This could explain why they are so successful in colonising new environments, though we would need to perform a similar study with wild goats to be sure."
The research was supported through a Swiss Federal Veterinary Office grant and Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship. The data was collected at Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Kent.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-03-goats-clever-previously-thought.html#jCp
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>> No. 5734 ID: 222727
So Goat Simulator has some realistic premises? Cool.

Got any other studies on intelligent animals?
>> No. 5735 ID: 13a71c
Crows are smart as well

Scientists have long suspected that corvids – the family of birds including ravens, crows and magpies – are highly intelligent. Now, Tübingen neurobiologists Lena Veit und Professor Andreas Nieder have demonstrated how the brains of crows produce intelligent behavior when the birds have to make strategic decisions. Their results are published in the latest edition of Nature Communications.
Crows are no bird-brains. Behavioral biologists have even called them "feathered primates" because the birds make and use tools, are able to remember large numbers of feeding sites, and plan their social behavior according to what other members of their group do. This high level of intelligence might seem surprising because birds' brains are constructed in a fundamentally different way from those of mammals, including primates – which are usually used to investigate these behaviors.

The Tübingen researchers are the first to investigate the brain physiology of crows' intelligent behavior. They trained crows to carry out memory tests on a computer. The crows were shown an image and had to remember it. Shortly afterwards, they had to select one of two test images on a touchscreen with their beaks based on a switching behavioral rules. One of the test images was identical to the first image, the other different. Sometimes the rule of the game was to select the same image, and sometimes it was to select the different one. The crows were able to carry out both tasks and to switch between them as appropriate. That demonstrates a high level of concentration and mental flexibility which few animal species can manage – and which is an effort even for humans.
The crows were quickly able to carry out these tasks even when given new sets of images. The researchers observed neuronal activity in the nidopallium caudolaterale, a brain region associated with the highest levels of cognition in birds. One group of nerve cells responded exclusively when the crows had to choose the same image – while another group of cells always responded when they were operating on the "different image" rule. By observing this cell activity, the researchers were often able to predict which rule the crow was following even before it made its choice.

The study published in Nature Communications provides valuable insights into the parallel evolution of intelligent behavior. "Many functions are realized differently in birds because a long evolutionary history separates us from these direct descendants of the dinosaurs," says Lena Veit. "This means that bird brains can show us an alternative solution out of how intelligent behavior is produced with a different anatomy." Crows and primates have different brains, but the cells regulating decision-making are very similar. They represent a general principle which has re-emerged throughout the history of evolution. "Just as we can draw valid conclusions on aerodynamics from a comparison of the very differently constructed wings of birds and bats, here we are able to draw conclusions about how the brain works by investigating the functional similarities and differences of the relevant brain areas in avian and mammalian brains," says Professor Andreas Nieder.

>> No. 5736 ID: 13a71c
  Humans want to believe that they're the smartest creatures on the planet. But the more we understand octopuses, the more it seems that we may not be alone in our ability to solve problems, make complex connections between ideas, and survive by wits alone. A growing body of evidence — a lot of it still anecdotal — suggests that octopuses show elements of human-like intelligence. But their intelligence has evolved for very different reasons than ours did, which makes them particularly difficult to understand.

Over at Orion magazine, Sy Montgomery has an incredible, in-depth article about what it's like to know octopuses (we linked to it a few weeks ago) — and perhaps, what it's like to be one. He interviews scientists who work with these invertebrates, and eventually befriends an octopus named Athena. Here's a fascinating piece of his article, which you will definitely want to read in full at Orion:

Octopuses have the largest brains of any invertebrate. Athena's is the size of a walnut-as big as the brain of the famous African gray parrot, Alex, who learned to use more than one hundred spoken words meaningfully. That's proportionally bigger than the brains of most of the largest dinosaurs.

Another measure of intelligence: you can count neurons. The common octopus has about 130 million of them in its brain. A human has 100 billion. But this is where things get weird. Three-fifths of an octopus's neurons are not in the brain; they're in its arms.

"It is as if each arm has a mind of its own," says Peter Godfrey-Smith, a diver, professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and an admirer of octopuses. For example, researchers who cut off an octopus's arm (which the octopus can regrow) discovered that not only does the arm crawl away on its own, but if the arm meets a food item, it seizes it-and tries to pass it to where the mouth would be if the arm were still connected to its body.

"Meeting an octopus," writes Godfrey-Smith, "is like meeting an intelligent alien." Their intelligence sometimes even involves changing colors and shapes. One video online shows a mimic octopus alternately morphing into a flatfish, several sea snakes, and a lionfish by changing color, altering the texture of its skin, and shifting the position of its body. Another video shows an octopus materializing from a clump of algae. Its skin exactly matches the algae from which it seems to bloom-until it swims away.

For its color palette, the octopus uses three layers of three different types of cells near the skin's surface. The deepest layer passively reflects background light. The topmost may contain the colors yellow, red, brown, and black. The middle layer shows an array of glittering blues, greens, and golds. But how does an octopus decide what animal to mimic, what colors to turn? Scientists have no idea, especially given that octopuses are likely colorblind.

But new evidence suggests a breathtaking possibility. Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory and University of Washington researchers found that the skin of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, a color-changing cousin of octopuses, contains gene sequences usually expressed only in the light-sensing retina of the eye. In other words, cephalopods-octopuses, cuttlefish, and squid-may be able to see with their skin.
Though octopuses may sense the world very differently than we do, researcher Jennifer Mather has also witnessed surprisingly human behavior. Montgomery writes:

One octopus Mather was watching had just returned home and was cleaning the front of the den with its arms. Then, suddenly, it left the den, crawled a meter away, picked up one particular rock and placed the rock in front of the den. Two minutes later, the octopus ventured forth to select a second rock. Then it chose a third. Attaching suckers to all the rocks, the octopus carried the load home, slid through the den opening, and carefully arranged the three objects in front. Then it went to sleep. What the octopus was thinking seemed obvious: "Three rocks are enough. Good night!"

The scene has stayed with Mather. The octopus "must have had some concept," she said, "of what it wanted to make itself feel safe enough to go to sleep." And the octopus knew how to get what it wanted: by employing foresight, planning-and perhaps even tool use.
In the book Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate, Mather and her colleagues take you through the lifecycle of octopuses, creatures who are still poorly understood. Much of our observations of octopus reproduction, for example, come from one female octopus who decided — oddly — to lay her eggs in a popular diving area near Seattle. Tucked into a den she created beneath a sunken boat, she spent almost a year tending her eggs. The entire time, she was observed daily by divers, many of whom interacted with her and gave her food. One group of those divers took careful notes of their observations to hand off to Mather and her team.

From these citizen scientists in diving gear, scientists learned females tending eggs soon stop eating — spending as much as 200 days starving themselves while they carefully blow water across their eggs and caress them to keep them clean and healthy. The octopus, nicknamed Olive by the divers, eventually saw the births of thousands of her young — only to die a few days later. Octopuses live only about three years, though there may be some deep sea species that can live for a decade.

Montgomery suggests that part of what makes octopus intelligence so alien to us is their short lifespans. But also, perhaps more importantly, they are non-social:

The octopus mind and the human mind probably evolved for different reasons. Humans-like other vertebrates whose intelligence we recognize (parrots, elephants, and whales)-are long-lived, social beings. Most scientists agree that an important event that drove the flowering of our intelligence was when our ancestors began to live in social groups. Decoding and developing the many subtle relationships among our fellows, and keeping track of these changing relationships over the course of the many decades of a typical human lifespan, was surely a major force shaping our minds.

But octopuses are neither long-lived nor social. Athena, to my sorrow, may live only a few more months-the natural lifespan of a giant Pacific octopus is only three years. If the aquarium added another octopus to her tank, one might eat the other. Except to mate, most octopuses have little to do with others of their kind.

So why is the octopus so intelligent? What is its mind for? Mather thinks she has the answer. She believes the event driving the octopus toward intelligence was the loss of the ancestral shell.
Predators who crave squishy-bodied octopus treats would exert strong selection pressure. Only the smartest octopuses would survive — the ones who could hide the most cunningly, traveling alone to avoid exposure.

It's becoming clear that octopuses use tools to hide all the time. After all, an octopus will gather stones to camouflage the entrance to its den. When Olive made her nest near Seattle, she built a small wall of stones around the entrance, almost like she was creating a courtyard.

Given the different origins and functions of our intelligences, it's likely that octopuses find humans as perplexing as we find them. You can imagine an octopus saying to a human, "Why the hell are you always trying to hang out with me? Don't you know that socializing leads to death?" At the same time, we may seem weirdly noncommunicative to an octopus, given that our bodies always stay the same shape and color. They might even dismiss us as incapable of intelligent discussion.

The question for octopus researchers, then, might be how to communicate with creatures whose minds are optimized for hiding and solitude. Perhaps we'll have to change our definition of intelligence before we finally realize we discovered non-human intelligent life long ago.

>> No. 5742 ID: 697c94
New Caledonian crows may understand how to displace water to receive a reward, with the causal understanding level of a 5-7 year-old child, according to results published March 26, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Sarah Jelbert from University of Auckland and colleagues.
Understanding causal relationships between actions is a key feature of human cognition. However, the extent to which non-human animals are capable of understanding causal relationships is not well understood. Scientists used the Aesop's fable riddle— in which subjects drop stones into water to raise the water level and obtain an out-of reach-reward—to assess New Caledonian crows' causal understanding of water displacement. These crows are known for their intelligence and innovation, as they are the only non-primate species able to make tools, such as prodding sticks and hooks. Six wild crows were tested after a brief training period for six experiments, during which the authors noted rapid learning (although not all the crows completed every experiment). The authors note that these tasks did not test insightful problem solving, but were directed at the birds' understanding of volume displacement.
Crows completed 4 of 6 water displacement tasks, including preferentially dropping stones into a water-filled tube instead of a sand-filled tube, dropping sinking objects rather than floating objects, using solid objects rather than hollow objects, and dropping objects into a tube with a high water level rather than a low one. However, they failed two more challenging tasks, one that required understanding of the width of the tube, and one that required understanding of counterintuitive cues for a U-shaped displacement task. According to the authors, results indicate crows may possess a sophisticated—but incomplete—understanding of the causal properties of volume displacement, rivalling that of 5-7 year old children.

This video shows example trials for each of the six experiments. Credit: Sarah Jelbert
Sarah Jelbert added, "These results are striking as they highlight both the strengths and limits of the crows' understanding. In particular, the crows all failed a task which violated normal causal rules, but they could pass the other tasks, which suggests they were using some level of causal understanding when they were successful."

>> No. 5743 ID: 222727
Knew about crows. As a kid, I hated them, but then I decided to listen to them for a while. Like how they were talking to each other and respond when I was in sight or when the dogs were out.

I grew even more respect for them when I watched a video of some crows playing in the snow. I think it was because someone told me that play is generally a sign of higher degrees of intelligence. Not sure on the truth of that. Can anyone verify that?

>three rocks
That's pretty cool. Didn't know of that pattern. Also, the evolution of lacking a built in exoskeleton or shell makes a lot of sense for intelligence. No protective crutch.
>> No. 5745 ID: 768dde
  Elephants painting elephants.
>> No. 5746 ID: 669994
wasted recursion potential.
>> No. 5748 ID: 604f11
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>> No. 5749 ID: 527497
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I am all but dead certain the elephant was specifically trained to paint that by its handlers and that the elephant doesn't understand the significance of the painting.

If you look at children's drawings before they receive any instruction, the faces are grossly exaggerated while the body and limbs are spindly afterthoughts. That's because humans primarily communicate via their faces. Elephants primarily communicate via their ears and trunks, so an elephantine representation of an elephant would be expected to be all ear and trunk. The ear of the painting is a spindly afterthought, exactly how a human would depict an elephant.

I bet the handlers make a tidy profit from selling those prints to gullible tourists. Make no mistake, it is quite remarkable that the elephant reproduced the handlers' directives so well, but it's an elephant's tracing of a human's design.
>> No. 5752 ID: 604f11
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>> No. 5753 ID: b338a2
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>hot potato with air bubble
>> No. 5870 ID: fbd4f6
Anyone who has spent any time on a farm could tell you goats are smart.
>> No. 5880 ID: cfae21
No. They don't forget. Kick a goat and he will have a hate on for you and everything you own until his dying breath.

They're still stupid as fuck. They eat tin cans ffs.
>> No. 6691 ID: 175486
>Three-fifths of an octopus's neurons are not in the brain; they're in its arms.
>"It is as if each arm has a mind of its own,"

>"Ah! Katsumi I'm sorry I can't help it."
>"My tentacles are moving on their own!"
>> No. 6694 ID: c96e54
  Goats are notorious for being a baffling mix of curiously clever and goddamn fucking retarded, as anyone who gets one will quickly learn.

They are good at learning from each other. If there is a means to escape their fencing, they WILL find it, and as soon as one does, every other goat will instantly know how as well.
They will find every hole and foothold possible. Think your fence is high enough? They'll climb on something nearby, and then jump it. They rest will quickly follow suit because fuck you that's why.

They also have a penchant for getting into trouble. One particular thing you should keep in mind when getting a goat is they see windows as openings to jump through, and will very much do so.
While they are also known for eating anything they can, this is only partially true. They actually use their sense of taste as a way of examining something, much like a baby. They still will end up consuming a lot of bad things if you are negligent in your care of goats.

Goats are about as cool (and downright useful if you have a large yard with difficult to control plants species) as any of the Bovidae get.
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