Eikonal Blog


Killing intelligent life (Taiji Cove Massacre)

The annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan

Faroe Islands’ Pilot Whales Slaughter

More at this blog: Intelligence in Earth’s nonhuman life – https://eikonal.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/intelligence-in-earths-other-life/


Intelligence in Earth’s nonhuman life



  • “Complex thinking goes beyond primates: Dolphins understand zero, elephants rescue each other” by Seth Borenstein (Winnipeg Free Press; 2012.06.24) – http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/sci_tech/complex-thinking-goes-beyond-primates-dolphins-understand-zero-elephants-rescue-each-other-160191285.html
    • Dolphins understand concept of “zero”. Can do everything that chimpanzees and bonobos can do. Likely have personalities.
    • Animal intelligence “is not a linear thing,” said Duke University researcher Brian Hare, who studies bonobos, which are one of man’s closest relatives, and dogs, which are not. “Think of it like a toolbox,” he said. “Some species have an amazing hammer. Some species have an amazing screwdriver.”
    • Elephants work cooperatively, solving problems faster than chimps.
  • “Line blurs between man, animal: Monkeys do math, baboons seem to read, orangutans plan ahead” by Seth Borenstein (Winnipeg Free Press; 2012.06.24) – http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/sci_tech/line-blurs-between-man-animal-monkeys-do-math-baboons-seem-to-read-orangutans-plan-ahead-160191235.html
    • Some of the shifts in scientific understanding of animals are leading to ethical debates. When Emory University researcher Lori Marino in 2001 co-wrote a groundbreaking study on dolphins recognizing themselves in mirrors, proving they have a sense of self similar to humans, she had a revelation. “The more you learn about them, the more you realize that they do have the capacity and characteristics that we think of as a person,” Marino said. “I think it’s impossible to ignore the ethical implications of these kinds of findings.”





Mammals: Primates

Mammals: Elephants

Mammals: Cetaceans (dolphins, whales, …)

  • “Talk with a dolphin via underwater translation machine” by MacGregor Campbell (New Scientist – issue 2811; 2011.05.09) – http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028115.400-talk-with-a-dolphin-via-underwater-translation-machine.html
  • “Intelligence of Dolphins: Ethical and Policy Implications” – http://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2010/webprogram/Session1526.html
      Charter: The dolphin brain has a large cerebral cortex and a substantial amount of associational neocortex. Most anatomical ratios that assess cognitive capacity place it second only to the human brain. More important, recent research in marine science has revealed that dolphins have a remarkable degree of cognitive and affective sophistication. For example, dolphins can recognize their image in a mirror as a reflection of themselves — a finding that indicates self-awareness similar to that seen in higher primates and elephants. These and other studies, which have found that dolphins are also capable of advanced cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, artificial language comprehension, and complex social behavior, indicate that dolphins are far more intellectually and emotionally sophisticated than previously thought. Considerable research indicates that they are significantly different from fish and other marine species, and this research has significance for commercial policy and practice. This symposium will present the scientific findings and explore their ethical and policy implications.
    • Lori Marino (Emory University): Anatomical Basis of Dolphin Intelligence – http://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2010/webprogram/Paper1487.html
        Many modern dolphin brains are significantly larger than our own and second in mass to the human brain when corrected for body size. Despite evolving along a different neuroanatomical trajectory than human brains, cetacean brains exhibit several features that are correlated with complex intelligence, including a large expanse of neocortical volume that is more convoluted than our own, extensive insular and cingulate regions, and highly differentiated cellular regions.
        These characteristics of dolphin brains are consistent with current behavioral evidence. In this presentation I will discuss the neuroanatomical basis of complex intelligence in dolphins, how the neuroanatomy provides evidence for psychological continuity between humans and dolphins, and the profound implications for the ethics of human-dolphin interactions. Specifically, I will focus on the growing worldwide industry of capturing and confining dolphins for amusement in marine park shows, “swim-with-dolphin” and “dolphin-assisted therapy” facilities. Our current knowledge of dolphin brain complexity and intelligence suggests that these practices are potentially psychologically harmful to dolphins and present a misinformed picture of their natural intellectual capacities.
    • Diana Reiss (Hunter College of the City University of New York): Self-Awareness and Dolphins – http://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2010/webprogram/Paper1488.html
        Bottlenose dolphins are highly social mammals with large and complex brains. Studies conducted in the field and aquaria have provided increasing evidence for the dolphin’s cognitive-social prowess, revealing that dolphins are cultural animals – much of their behavior is learned and passed down through generations.
        They have demonstrated the capacity for mirror-self recognition (MSR), a hallmark of a level of self-awareness, previously thought to be restricted to humans but also shared by the great apes, elephants and magpies. Despite profound differences in neuroanatomical characteristics and evolutionary histories dolphins, primates (human and great apes), and elephants show striking parallels in both the progression of behavioral stages and actual responses to a mirror providing compelling evidence for convergent cognitive evolution. MSR may index an increased self-other distinction that also underlies the social complexity and altruistic tendencies shared among these species.
        Can our scientific knowledge be used to influence international policy decisions and ethical considerations of the treatment of dolphins? Do scientific facts translate and transcend cultural boundaries? In the dolphin drive hunts in Japan, there are no restrictions on capture or killing methods of the highly sentient dolphin and other small whales. The killing methods fail to meet even the most minimal requirements used in U.S. laboratories and slaughterhouses. Scientists are making the argument on the basis of the scientific evidence that the drive hunts are unjustifiable and indefensible in that they inflict pain and suffering on animals that are intelligent, sentient, socially complex and have capacity to experience pain and suffering.
    • Thomas I. White (Loyola Marymount University): Ethical Implications of Dolphin Intelligence: Dolphins as Nonhuman Persons – http://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2010/webprogram/Paper1489.html
        The scientific research on dolphin intelligence suggests that dolphins are “nonhuman persons.” (Like humans, dolphins appear to be self-conscious,
        unique individuals [with distinctive personalities, memories and a sense of self] who are vulnerable to a wide range of physical and emotional pain and harm, and who have the power to reflect upon and choose their actions.) At the same time, fundamental differences between humans and dolphins have also surfaced. (The dolphin brain has an older architecture than the human brain, and dolphin and human brains have features not found in the other. Dolphins possess a sense that humans lack [echolocation]. Humans and dolphins have profoundly different evolutionary histories.) This juxtaposition of important similarities and differences has significant ethical implications.
        The similarities suggest that dolphins qualify for moral standing as individuals-and, therefore, are entitled to treatment of a particular sort. The differences, however, suggest that species-specific standards may apply when it comes to determining something as basic as “harm.” The policy implications are considerable. For example, certain human fishing practices are indefensible and would need to change. (Over 300,000 cetaceans are thought to die annually around the world as a result of fisheries by-catch. Thousands more typically die in the annual Japanese drive hunts.) Similarly, changes would need to be made regarding the hundreds of captive dolphins currently used in entertainment facilities. The economic, political and diplomatic challenges in ending ethically problematic practices, however, are daunting and multi-faceted. Unfortunately, humans have a poor track record for recognizing the rights and interests even of members of our own species once they’ve been dubbed “inferior.” Meaningful change in human/dolphin interaction, then, is likely to unfold slowly. Yet developing an interspecies ethic could mark a significant turning point in the relationship between humans and other intelligent beings on the planet.
  • “Non-human Persons” by petchary (Petchary blog) – http://petchary.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/non-human-persons/ – dog knows more worlds (over 1000) that a two-years old.

Mammals: Carnivora (cats, dogs, …)

Aves (Birds)

Aves (Birds): Corvids [Corvidae]

  • Corvidae (WikiPedia) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvidae
  • “Rook reveal remarkable tool use” – http://vodpod.com/watch/1672586-rook-reveal-remarkable-tool-use
  • “Bird Tool Use Evolved for Better Grub, Literally” by Jennifer Viegas (Dicsovery News; 2010.09.16) – http://news.discovery.com/animals/bird-tool-use-evolved-for-better-grub-literally.html
  • “Ravens Reconcile after Aggressive Conflicts with Valuable Partners” by Orlaith N. Fraser, Thomas Bugnyar (PLoS; 2011.03.25) – http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0018118
      Reconciliation, a post-conflict affiliative interaction between former opponents, is an important mechanism for reducing the costs of aggressive conflict in primates and some other mammals as it may repair the opponents’ relationship and reduce post-conflict distress. Opponents who share a valuable relationship are expected to be more likely to reconcile as for such partners the benefits of relationship repair should outweigh the risk of renewed aggression. In birds, however, post-conflict behavior has thus far been marked by an apparent absence of reconciliation, suggested to result either from differing avian and mammalian strategies or because birds may not share valuable relationships with partners with whom they engage in aggressive conflict. Here, we demonstrate the occurrence of reconciliation in a group of captive subadult ravens (Corvus corax) and show that it is more likely to occur after conflicts between partners who share a valuable relationship. Furthermore, former opponents were less likely to engage in renewed aggression following reconciliation, suggesting that reconciliation repairs damage caused to their relationship by the preceding conflict. Our findings suggest not only that primate-like valuable relationships exist outside the pair bond in birds, but that such partners may employ the same mechanisms in birds as in primates to ensure that the benefits afforded by their relationships are maintained even when conflicts of interest escalate into aggression. These results provide further support for a convergent evolution of social strategies in avian and mammalian species.
  • “Angry Birds: Crows Never Forget Your Face” by Jennifer Viegas (Discovery News; 2011.06.28) – http://news.discovery.com/animals/angry-crows-memory-life-threatening-behavior-110628.html

    • Mess with a crow, and it will remember your face for over five years, research shows.
    • Crows remember the faces of “dangerous humans,” with the memories likely lasting for a bird’s lifetime.
    • Crows may scold people who threaten them, bringing in relatives and even strangers to mob the person.
    • The crows within mobs then indirectly learn about the person, so they too associate that individual’s face with danger and react accordingly.
    • “Others have shown that some crows make and use tools, forecast future events, understand what other animals know, and — in our case — learn from individual experience as well as by observing parents and peers,” Marzluff explained. “These are all advanced cognitive tasks shown by only a few animals.”
    • He suspects other social, long-lived species that live closely with humans might also share information in a similar manner. Possibilities include animals such as coyotes, raccoons, gulls, pigeons and rats. All could practice a combination of social and trial and error learning. The latter provides the most accurate information, but it is clearly riskier than indirect social learning.
  • “Crows are Feathered Engineers” by Gene Charleton (Discovery News; 2010.06.10) – http://news.discovery.com/tech/feathered-engineers.htmlCrows living in the jungles of New Caledonia use tools to solve problems.
  • “Feathered engineers” by Gene (Texas AM Engineering; 2010.06.02) – http://engineeringworks.tamu.edu/2010/feathered-engineers/
  • “Mirrors and Magpies” by fatfinch (The Fat Finch Bird Brain Blog; ) – http://fatfinch.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/mirrors-and-magpies/
  • “Self-Recognition in the Pica Pica (Magpie)?” (2008.08.19) – http://cognitivetrammeling.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/self-recognition-in-the-pica-pica/

Aves (Birds): Parrots


Cephalopod: Squids, etc

  • Cephalopod intelligence (WikiPedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalopod_intelligence
  • This is probably a stretch (in domain of science-fiction), but it sounds like something that just could be the case. Is decoration of your nesting ground a sign of intelligence? Also, assuming that some ancient cephalopod indeed had this intelligence, then the questions is what happened to that intelligence during the following 50 millions of years? It looks like it had gone nowhere to be seen these days.
    • “The Revenge of the Imaginary Kraken” by Brian Switek (Wired; 2011.10.12) – http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/the-revenge-of-the-imaginary-kraken/
    • “Gigantic KRAKEN fingered in prehistoric murder mystery – Prof reckons monster was also a Triassic Van Gogh” by Anna Leach (The Register; 2011.10.12) – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/12/kraken_killer/
        “The proposed Triassic kraken, which could have been the most intelligent invertebrate ever, arranged the vertebral discs in biserial patterns, with individual pieces nesting in a fitted fashion as if they were part of a puzzle. The arranged vertebrae resemble the pattern of sucker discs on a cephalopod tentacle, with each amphicoelous vertebra strongly resembling a coleoid sucker. Thus the tessellated vertebral disc pavement may represent the earliest known self‑portrait.”
    • “Ancient Krakens Making Self-Portraits?” (SlashDot; 2011.10.11) – http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/10/11/134240/ancient-krakens-making-self-portraits
        First time accepted submitter Sanoj writes “Strange patterns of ichthyosaur bones have been found on an ancient deep-water seabed. One paleontologist has put forward the theory that these could have been the work of giant cephalopods who were eating the swimming dinosaurs and then arranging the vertebrae to resemble their own tentacles [http://www.tgdaily.com/general-sciences-features/58953-triassic-kraken-may-have-created-self-portrait]. Sound far-fetched? Apparently, the modern octopus also does this.”
    • “The Giant, Prehistoric Squid That Ate Common Sense” by Brian Switek (Wired; 2011.10.10) – http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/the-giant-prehistoric-squid-that-ate-common-sense/
    • “Smokin’ Kraken?” by Sarah Simpson(Discovery News; 2011.10.100) – http://news.discovery.com/earth/smokin-kraken-111011.html
    • “Triassic ‘Kraken’ may have created self-portrait” by Kate Taylor (TG Daily; 2011.10.10) – http://www.tgdaily.com/general-sciences-features/58953-triassic-kraken-may-have-created-self-portrait
    • “TRIASSIC KRAKEN: THE BERLIN ICHTHYOSAUR DEATH ASSEMBLAGE INTERPRETED AS A GIANT CEPHALOPOD MIDDEN” by Mark A.S. MCMENAMIN and Dianna L. SCHULTE MCMENAMIN (2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis [9–12 October 2011]; Paper No. 120-3) – http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2011AM/finalprogram/abstract_197227.htm
        The Luning Formation at Berlin‑Ichthyosaur State Park, Nevada, hosts a puzzling assemblage of at least 9 huge (≤14 m) juxtaposed ichthyosaurs (Shonisaurus popularis). Shonisaurs were cephalopod‑eating predators comparable to sperm whales (Physeter). Hypotheses presented to explain the apparent mass mortality at the site have included: tidal flat stranding, sudden burial by slope failure, and phytotoxin poisoning. Citing the wackestone matrix, J. A. Holger argued convincingly for a deeper water setting, but her phytotoxicity hypothesis cannot explain how so many came to rest at virtually the same spot. Skeletal articulation indicates that animals were deposited on the sea floor shortly after death. Currents or other factors placed them in a north‑south orientation. Adjacent skeletons display different taphonomic histories and degrees of disarticulation, ruling out catastrophic mass death, but allowing a scenario in which dead ichthyosaurs were sequentially transported to a sea floor midden. We hypothesize that the shonisaurs were killed and carried to the site by an enormous Triassic cephalopod, a “kraken,” with estimated length of approximately 30 m, twice that of the modern Colossal Squid Mesonychoteuthis. In this scenario, shonisaurs were ambushed by a Triassic kraken, drowned, and dumped on a midden like that of a modern octopus. Where vertebrae in the assemblage are disarticulated, disks are arranged in curious linear patterns with almost geometric regularity. Close fitting due to spinal ligament contraction is disproved by the juxtaposition of different-sized vertebrae from different parts of the vertebral column. The proposed Triassic kraken, which could have been the most intelligent invertebrate ever, arranged the vertebral discs in biserial patterns, with individual pieces nesting in a fitted fashion as if they were part of a puzzle. The arranged vertebrae resemble the pattern of sucker discs on a cephalopod tentacle, with each amphicoelous vertebra strongly resembling a coleoid sucker. Thus the tessellated vertebral disc pavement may represent the earliest known self‑portrait. The submarine contest between cephalopods and seagoing tetrapods has a long history. A Triassic kraken would have posed a deadly risk for shonisaurs as they dove in pursuit of their smaller cephalopod prey.
  • “Octopus Is First Invertebrate to Use Tools, Turning a Coconut Into Mobile Home (Video)”
    by Jaymi Heimbuch (TreeHugger; 2009.12.15) – http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/12/octopus-is-first-invertabrate-to-use-tools-turning-a-coconut-into-mobile-home.php

Plan group intelligence

Bacteria group intelligence

Related here: Intelligence – https://eikonal.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/intelligence/.

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