Author Topic: Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)  (Read 693 times)

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Offline kimmy

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Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)
« Reply #45 on: July 12, 2021, 10:42:43 pm »
When talking about animal intelligence, people tend to think of primates, whales, and lately of corvids as well. But what about cephalopods?

Player 4 has entered the game!

It's been observed that octopi and squid appear to have exceptional intelligence. But they're difficult to work with in a lab environment. Enter the cuttlefish, an adorable little creature in the same family. Like its bigger cousins, the cuttlefish is able to solve some of the behavioral tests for intelligence that researchers have devised.

One key difference between cuttlefish and corvids and primates is that cuttlefish are mostly solitary.  One of the theories about why primates and corvids have developed higher intelligence is that intelligence enables the socially complicated behaviors that help our survival. But that theory doesn't work for solitary creatures like the cuttlefish. The article suggests that being a weak and vulnerable creature in a dangerous environment might be what made cuttlefish smart... dumb cuttlefish get eaten and don't reproduce.

A second difference is that unlike primates and corvids, cuttlefish have very short lives. They only live a year or two.

And, the cephalopods have been far apart from mammals and birds on the evolutionary tree for a very long time.  The last common ancestor of humans and birds was about 300 million years ago. The last common ancestor of humans and cephalopods was perhaps 600 million years ago, so their path to achieving intelligence is very separate from ours.

“We’re adapting these experiments that have been done in chimpanzees and corvids,” Dr. Schnell said, “to see if these animals that diverged from this lineage 550 million years ago have the same capacity.”

If they do, cuttlefish will have an important role in illuminating how and when intelligence evolves. Corvids and certain primates — including humans — each developed the ability to plan for the future, but they seem to have arrived at it independently, rather than inheriting the capacity from a common ancestor. Both kinds of creatures have complex social lives and lengthy life spans to learn from, commonalities that make it hard for biologists to say what traits or environment make intelligence a good investment for an organism.

The cuttlefish promises to add another dimension to the study of intelligence because they must have developed it in a completely different context.

“They don’t live a long time, unlike the corvids. They’re not highly social, unlike the corvids,” Dr. Clayton said. “It was very unlikely that it was social intelligence that was driving the evolution.”

There are still more tests to come. It’s not clear whether cuttlefish will turn out to have all the same skills as apes and corvids, or just a handful. If what they have is similar, then it’s possible that profound vulnerability, rather than long life or social complexity, is what has forced them to become so canny.

The ancestors of cuttlefish and other cephalopods had hard external shells to protect them. Over the eons, these shells were lost or adapted into internal structures, like the cuttlefish’s. And unlike octopuses, which are reclusive den dwellers, cuttlefish are exposed in open water.

“They’re essentially a big lump of protein, which is very tasty to anything that lives in the ocean,” Dr. Schnell said.

It might be that the best protection for these little roving meatballs with arms, alongside their formidable camouflage, was their brain.

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Offline Nipples Von Graham

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Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)
« Reply #46 on: July 14, 2021, 10:49:51 pm »
I love virtually all animals except crows (corvids) and mosquitos.

Crows are so loud/noisy, they have the most annoying caw and they won't STFU.  "KRAA!!  KRAA!!"  Sometimes they wake me up in the morning if the window is open.
I can tell how good of a person you are by how you treat the people you disagree with.

Offline Squidward von Squidderson

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Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)
« Reply #47 on: July 14, 2021, 11:08:34 pm »
"KRAA!!  KRAA!!"

The ‘r’ is silent…
« Last Edit: July 15, 2021, 11:43:41 am by the_squid »