from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Animals may (or may not) be getting smarter, but there sure is growing evidence that animals have more cognitive abilities than we might have expected. In some cases, we're actually breeding animals for intelligence. (Who wouldn't want to buy a genetically engineered parrot with the conversational capability of a 5 year old kid?) Perhaps we'll end up regretting our animal experiments someday when we're faced with super-intelligent birds or insects, but for now, it's interesting to see just how smart our animal pals can get.
- Breeding smarter fruit flies doesn't sound like a good plan to create a race of super intelligent insects. Still, a decent first step has been accomplished by directing the evolution of fruit flies to exhibit the ability to count to four... [url]
- Some baboons in a French laboratory have been observed to be able to tell the difference between real English words and fake words. This study probably says more about the rules of English spelling rather than evidence of baboons being linguistic geniuses. [url]
- For many mammals, the ratio of brain size to body size is a fairly predictable matter, but there are some outliers with larger than expected brains for a given body size. Curiously, the smaller mammals with larger than expected brains tend to survive extinction better and adapt more easily to environmental changes -- but correlation isn't the same as causation. [url]