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Thread: Are Smarter Animals Bigger Troublemakers?

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    Are Smarter Animals Bigger Troublemakers?

    You have probably encountered a raccoon raiding the trash in your neighborhood, seen a rat scurrying through the subway or tried to shoo away birds from your picnic. But have you ever wondered what makes these animals so good at living in suburbs and cities, and whether these same traits also make them such a nuisance?

    A new paper in the journal Animal Behaviour written by Lisa P. Barrett, Lauren Stanton and Sarah Benson-Amram, of the University of Wyoming's Animal Behavior and Cognition Lab, takes an in-depth look at these questions.

    The authors examine whether smarter animals might be better at learning to live in cities—but, at the same time, also may come into more conflict with humans. For example, crows' memories allow them to predict and capitalize on sources of food, such as trash collection routines, but their memories also can bring them into conflict with humans when the birds strew trash on the street or congregate in agricultural fields or on buildings.

    Barrett says the research team examined the potential role of animal cognition in different types of human-wildlife conflict, including wildlife killing livestock, stealing food, damaging property, colliding with vehicles, transmitting diseases and even killing humans. The researchers looked at cognitive abilities such as learning, innovative problem-solving, memory and behavioral flexibility.

    "Animals that innovate novel ways to solve problems in their environment could drive a type of arms race with humans, where animals and humans work continuously to outsmart one another," Stanton says.

    For example, elephants have been known to pick up and use trees to disable electric fences, and raccoons and kea, a parrot found in New Zealand, frequently open "animal-proof" trash bins. Learning to avoid human-made deterrents, including loud noises and bright lights, also helps animals get past barriers and access resources, rendering human-built blockades ineffective.

    In contrast, Benson-Amram notes that "some animals, like coyotes, may learn to minimize contact with humans or avoid humans altogether by increasing nocturnal activity and walking around major freeways."

    The researchers also investigate how the personalities of different animals, such as an animal's willingness to take risks or its attraction to new objects, may affect the ability of these animals to thrive near humans or in human-altered landscapes, such as cities. For example, bolder animals are more likely to approach humans in order to steal their lunches, and animals that are attracted to novel objects also are probably more likely to approach houses and cars.

    As wildlife, such as coyotes and raccoons, become increasingly common in cities, they may become bolder as they habituate to their urban surroundings. It is critically important for both wildlife and humans to have effective conflict mitigation strategies.

    Benson-Amram hopes this research will inspire people to think about the cognitive abilities of animals that they encounter around their homes—and that scientists and wildlife managers will invest even further into research on animal cognition.

    "Given increasing human populations and expansion into animal habitat, there is a greater likelihood for human-wildlife conflict," Benson-Amram says. "Our work illustrates the need for research on a greater number of cognitive abilities in diverse species to understand how we can best mitigate these conflicts."

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-06-explor...akers.html#jCp

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...477?via%3Dihub
    Pretty remarkable that an elephant is able to compromise an electric fence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Pretty remarkable that an elephant is able to compromise an electric fence.
    I thought I had read that elephants are very intelligent, and this seems to confirm it.

    Pigs are supposedly smarter than most animals as well. I try not to think about that. :)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I thought I had read that elephants are very intelligent, and this seems to confirm it.

    Pigs are supposedly smarter than most animals as well. I try not to think about that. :)
    It's pretty impressive that they're basically using tools to bypass a human barrier; in this case a tree.

    Elephants can also recognize their own reflection in a mirror, which most other animals aren't capable of.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    It's pretty impressive that they're basically using tools to bypass a human barrier; in this case a tree.

    Elephants can also recognize their own reflection in a mirror, which most other animals aren't capable of.

    Very cool. Yes, cats, for example, have no clue it's them in the mirror. It's very funny in a sort of mean way. :)


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    Wow, can't wait to see that cat mirror vid later on lol
    mmmmmmmmm dooouuughhhnuuuutz

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Very cool. Yes, cats, for example, have no clue it's them in the mirror. It's very funny in a sort of mean way. :)



    Similar to the bigger cats:



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE0QRf2pjqg

    Dolphins are another species that can recognize their reflection:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M92OA-_5-Y

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    I know that they are considered too smart.

    the smarter the animal,
    the more it 'plays', uses tools etc

    So yes, the smarter, the more 'troublemakers'

    the otter



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    This is one of those scientific studies that I think to myself upon reading its results: "Finally proofs for what always seemed to self-evident to me!" LOL

    Everybody who ever had the chance to observe some saguis or soins (little Brazilian monkeys) up close - hopefully without being robbed or teased by them (I mean it) - would've immediately thought that intelligence and the ability to create more troubles (and in more varied ways) go hand in hand in evolution. :-D

    Here is a tragicomic snippet of what some smart monkeys can do: the TV report reads as Thief monkeys invade college campus and steal a snack bar in Goiás (watch at 1:51-2:05 - the monkeys eating snacks and drinking soda! lol)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjy4pMQIcto

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    Another intriguing point: in the state neighboring the one where I live in Brazil, scientists from the Oxford University and São Paulo University found out in 2016 that a particular population of macacos-prego, a species of monkey found in Brazil, have been using primitive stone tools for at least the last 700 years, the earliest data for the use of stone tools by monkeys outside of Africa. Some of the tools are actually a bit reminiscent of the very first stone tools used by hominins. It is interesting that they observed that the young ones learn how to make tools and use them by carefully observing the skills of the adults.

    http://g1.globo.com/ciencia-e-saude/...iz-estudo.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    This is one of those scientific studies that I think to myself upon reading its results: "Finally proofs for what always seemed to self-evident to me!" LOL

    Everybody who ever had the chance to observe some saguis or soins (little Brazilian monkeys) up close - hopefully without being robbed or teased by them (I mean it) - would've immediately thought that intelligence and the ability to create more troubles (and in more varied ways) go hand in hand in evolution. :-D

    Here is a tragicomic snippet of what some smart monkeys can do: the TV report reads as Thief monkeys invade college campus and steal a snack bar in Goiás (watch at 1:51-2:05 - the monkeys eating snacks and drinking soda! lol)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjy4pMQIcto
    GET THIS: I read that monkeys are notorious for stealing people's beer! It's the carbohydrates in the beer that attracts them or something, my memory is foggy but just imagine how cool it would be to have a beer with a monkey . Why would anyone not want to do that?

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