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Incredible displays of animal abilities

  1. Jul 15, 2017 #1
    As human beings, it's easy to look at other animals and imagine they are inferior to us in most ways. Sure, most animals are faster than us, but they run on four legs and we run on two. And most animals have far better hearing and smell, but we tend to have better eyesight. We don't have sharp claws, warm fur, or large teeth, but we have incredibly dexterous hands which can build any tool we need. These sort of physical attributes are not what I'm talking about.

    What I mean is that when you look at how wide our range of cognitive and physical abilities are - that is, the range of acquired skills we are capable of, it can sometimes feel like animals are just simply inferior. Humans can perform complicated cognitive tasks like poetry, humor and mathematics, and we can still perform incredible physical feats like juggling, acrobatics, or rock climbing.

    But sometimes there are really amazing examples of animals performing cognitive or physical abilities that seem to surpass those of human beings. For example, look how effortlessly this otter "juggles" a rock.

    And look how effortlessly this chimpanzee plays a memory game.

    The otter's sense of proprioception, and the chimpanzees short-term memory seem to actually greatly surpass that of most humans. So I wonder, what other examples exist out there? Please post some if you know of any.
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  3. Jul 15, 2017 #2
    Tune in to the Wimby final tomorrow and watch Roger Federer at work.

    That's an incredible display of ability.

    Likewise, watch any world class musician - pick your favorite - rock guitar, cello, concert piano.

    Animals are cool and amazing and all, but humans are the pinnacle of incredible in the created world.
  4. Jul 15, 2017 #3


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  5. Jul 15, 2017 #4


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    There are a LOT of animals that would disagree w/ that, particularly raptors who would find our visual acuity laughable.
  6. Jul 15, 2017 #5
    True, but in a match of juggling rocks, or memory games, we might find ourselves outmatched by our animal cousins. I think some animals possess specific cognitive abilities that humans simply can't match, despite all the other abilities we do have.
  7. Jul 15, 2017 #6
    Sure, lots of animal capabilities are outstanding: magnetoreception and scent recognition come to mind.

    And let's not forget turning grass into steak and scraps into bacon.
  8. Jul 15, 2017 #7

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    And if God hadn't intended us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  9. Jul 15, 2017 #8
    You didn't read the original post. Sense of smell or magnetoreception are not learned abilities. The otter and chimpanzee examples are so impressive because those animals had to aquire those abilities, and they are not linked to some physical attribute. There's no physical reason a human can't juggle rocks like that or beat the chimp in a memory game, but our brains just inferior when it comes to those particular skills.
  10. Jul 15, 2017 #9
    Read the post. Rejected the boundaries.

    Recognizing smells IS a learned ability. Deer naturally fear humans and their smell. I can (and have) taught them not to fear my smell by hanging my clothes in my deer stand for months before opening day of deer season. Trout learn to find their way back to their streams of origin by recognizing the unique chemical signature.

    Magnetoreception in isolation is not learned, but using it to navigate most likely is.
  11. Jul 15, 2017 #10


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    I've seen a tv documentation about an experiment, in which a person in a yellow oilskin riled a crow repeatedly so the crow learned "yellow oilskin = danger". Then when the crow had offspring and they returned to the scene in that dress, the young bird already knew it means danger and reacted correspondingly, although it had never seen it before. So how did the crow teach this?

    In Paris there is a park where crows only open up bags from McDonald's. They don't bother any others.
    However, they didn't reveal, if this is because of tasty food or promising more leftovers.
  12. Jul 15, 2017 #11


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  13. Jul 23, 2017 #12
  14. Jul 23, 2017 #13

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    I'm not sure I would accept "Cracked" as an unimpeachable source.
  15. Jul 24, 2017 #14
    I already saw that post coming, just take it with a grain of salt as curiosity I guess?
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