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BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think
BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think
This lecture is dedicated to the memory of Winky, a one-time playful
This lecture is dedicated to the memory of Winky, a one-time playful
Readings for this unit:
Readings for this unit:
Examinations
Examinations
Instead of talking about animal behavior in general, I shall only
Instead of talking about animal behavior in general, I shall only
First, I must make sure everyone here is fully awake
First, I must make sure everyone here is fully awake
Everyday observations which raise the possibility that animals do
Everyday observations which raise the possibility that animals do
A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Elephant
A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Elephant
A crow uses bread to lure and catch fish: http://www
A crow uses bread to lure and catch fish: http://www
The Dance Language of Bees: http://youtube
The Dance Language of Bees: http://youtube
A Speaking Parrot
A Speaking Parrot
Another intriguing behavior: Cooperative Human/Dolphin Fishing A
Another intriguing behavior: Cooperative Human/Dolphin Fishing A
Other Side of Coin: Instances of Animal Stupidity
Other Side of Coin: Instances of Animal Stupidity
All this leaves us still undecided: Can elephants and other animals
All this leaves us still undecided: Can elephants and other animals
COMMON SENSE: UNRELIABLE
COMMON SENSE: UNRELIABLE
We have reasons to suspect that elephants do think
We have reasons to suspect that elephants do think
Art
Art
Music
Music
Elephant Musicians: Listenwhat do you think
Elephant Musicians: Listenwhat do you think
Anthropology Tool use and modificationuniquely human
Anthropology Tool use and modificationuniquely human
Culture Studies or Natural History
Culture Studies or Natural History
Rules of Conduct Hanako, then a young elephant at the Portland Zoo,
Rules of Conduct Hanako, then a young elephant at the Portland Zoo,
Suicide
Suicide
But, all this (and there is much more) does not prove thinking because
But, all this (and there is much more) does not prove thinking because
Not necessarily thinking
Not necessarily thinking
Origin I. genetically programmed behavioral patterns, e.g.,
Origin I. genetically programmed behavioral patterns, e.g.,
How do we know that this is genetically determined (and not involving
How do we know that this is genetically determined (and not involving
Origin II
Origin II
How can you tell no thinking is involved
How can you tell no thinking is involved
At times, the actions themselves betray their mindlessness
At times, the actions themselves betray their mindlessness
Lesson from this:
Lesson from this:
Origins III
Origins III
What see the opposite
What see the opposite
Another thing that makes scientists cautious: Clever Hans
Another thing that makes scientists cautious: Clever Hans
Clever Hans
Clever Hans
A Historical Note
A Historical Note
The real (not the public relations expert) father of ethology is the
The real (not the public relations expert) father of ethology is the
Wonderful writing style, e.g., 1915, The Hunting Wasps
Wonderful writing style, e.g., 1915, The Hunting Wasps
Here, just a few of his experiments
Here, just a few of his experiments
In one case, for instance, one species of wasp habitually seized its
In one case, for instance, one species of wasp habitually seized its
2nd experiment suggesting that insects do not think:
2nd experiment suggesting that insects do not think:
What will happen, Fabre ask himselfand I ask youif, while the wasp
What will happen, Fabre ask himselfand I ask youif, while the wasp
Insects, Fabre concluded, are like a series of echoes each awakening
Insects, Fabre concluded, are like a series of echoes each awakening
How do you study these questions more methodically
How do you study these questions more methodically
Burma (Myanmar) had been in the news a few months ago
Burma (Myanmar) had been in the news a few months ago
Burma: Makes the USA look like a democracy (and thats saying a great
Burma: Makes the USA look like a democracy (and thats saying a great
BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think
BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think
Experiments: A perching raven
Experiments: A perching raven
Now, a raven can do it: insight
Now, a raven can do it: insight
Actually, at least two possibilities
Actually, at least two possibilities
Typically, most ethologists stop here
Typically, most ethologists stop here
Another approach: Lifting a lid off a bucket and retrieving a reward
Another approach: Lifting a lid off a bucket and retrieving a reward
Do they understand what they are doing
Do they understand what they are doing
BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think
BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think
After an elephant learned to lift a lid to retrieve food from a bucket
After an elephant learned to lift a lid to retrieve food from a bucket
If lid is placed on ground, they still move it first: MM5b2 TS, 3 no
If lid is placed on ground, they still move it first: MM5b2 TS, 3 no
You Got to Know when to suck them
You Got to Know when to suck them
The Povinelli Paradigm
The Povinelli Paradigm
We carried out similar experiments with 16 elephants
We carried out similar experiments with 16 elephants
And, modifying Povinelli, observed chimps Here is Beauty (also on
And, modifying Povinelli, observed chimps Here is Beauty (also on
Povinellis Paradigm: Elephant and Chimpanzee Results
Povinellis Paradigm: Elephant and Chimpanzee Results
Importance of Question: Do Animals Think
Importance of Question: Do Animals Think
The End (Elephant Music:
The End (Elephant Music:

: BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think. : Moti Nissani. : BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think.ppt. zip-: 3002 .

BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think

BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think.ppt
1 BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think

BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think

April 14, 2008

Moti Nissani Department of Biology, Wayne State University (aa1674@wayne.edu) Accompanying song--A Place in the Choir http://youtube.com/watch?v=2ytzaV95HZU

2 This lecture is dedicated to the memory of Winky, a one-time playful

This lecture is dedicated to the memory of Winky, a one-time playful

(or youtube) resident of the Detroit Zoo

3 Readings for this unit:

Readings for this unit:

Noneyou are only responsible for the contents of this lecture.

4 Examinations

Examinations

Midterm Review Session: Friday, April 18th from 11:45 - 1:45 As well, this coming Friday, if you have questions, Ill answer as many as time permits instead of lecturing. If no questions are asked, well have a regular lecture Midterm: Monday, April 21 Make-up: Tues., April 29: One exam only. If you missed one, OR want a higher grade (in that case, only higher of two grades counts).

5 Instead of talking about animal behavior in general, I shall only

Instead of talking about animal behavior in general, I shall only

highlight in greater depth just one question: Do Animals Think? Well begin by watching a few videos of animals in action, starting with videos which seem to imply thinking

6 First, I must make sure everyone here is fully awake

First, I must make sure everyone here is fully awake

Trumpeting

7 Everyday observations which raise the possibility that animals do

Everyday observations which raise the possibility that animals do

think:

A dog playing the role of John Travolta http://www.koreus.com/video/chien-danseur.html

8 A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Elephant

A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Elephant

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LHoyB81LnE

9 A crow uses bread to lure and catch fish: http://www

A crow uses bread to lure and catch fish: http://www

youtube.com/watch?v=DiwjjNC_NV4

10 The Dance Language of Bees: http://youtube

The Dance Language of Bees: http://youtube

com/watch?v=-7ijI-g4jHg

11 A Speaking Parrot

A Speaking Parrot

In performance: Alex and Irene

12 Another intriguing behavior: Cooperative Human/Dolphin Fishing A

Another intriguing behavior: Cooperative Human/Dolphin Fishing A

dolphin signaling to fishermen: CAST THE NET (also on youtube) Another dolphin: A more complete sequence (also on youtube)

13 Other Side of Coin: Instances of Animal Stupidity

Other Side of Coin: Instances of Animal Stupidity

If you have a dog, you know that, if it wraps itself around a tree, it is stuck! A bone-chewing dog attacking its scratching paw (video)

14 All this leaves us still undecided: Can elephants and other animals

All this leaves us still undecided: Can elephants and other animals

think? e.g.,

Solve problems in their head? (or must they blindly try everything?) Have a concept of self?

15 COMMON SENSE: UNRELIABLE

COMMON SENSE: UNRELIABLE

e.g., People used to believe that the sun goes around the earth (we still talk about sunrise, sunset). So, scientists want PROOFS!

16 We have reasons to suspect that elephants do think

We have reasons to suspect that elephants do think

Evidence from, e.g.: Art Criticism Music Anthropology Field Observations

17 Art

Art

Two noted artists felt that Siri was a talented, artist.

18 Music

Music

Thai Orchestra Elephant Band One six-year-old fell in love with drums, keeps perfect time and can synchronize them with cymbals. A musician/scientist: Possibly, real music: they exercise judgment and enjoy themselves

19 Elephant Musicians: Listenwhat do you think

Elephant Musicians: Listenwhat do you think

Thai Elephant Orchestra Artist: David Soldier Release Date: April 10, 2001 Genre: Classical Styles: Postmodern

20 Anthropology Tool use and modificationuniquely human

Anthropology Tool use and modificationuniquely human

NO! Elephants can do it too! MM3c3 tool use scratching Hla Htaik.mpg (also on youtube)

21 Culture Studies or Natural History

Culture Studies or Natural History

Wounded Comrade Mourning their dead? Everyday tasks, e.g. MM4b6 log leg trunk.mpg (also on youtube)

22 Rules of Conduct Hanako, then a young elephant at the Portland Zoo,

Rules of Conduct Hanako, then a young elephant at the Portland Zoo,

refused to nurse her infant, nervously pacing instead. Hanakos mother and another dominant female violently slammed Hanako against a wall, where she stayed put for 20 minutes, allowing her calf to suckle. When Hanako resumed her pacing, the two females again slammed her against the wall, and this time she let her baby feed for hours. This sequence repeated itself over the next few days, prompting the authors to conclude that elephants have rules of behavior and that they administer corrective punishment when these rules are broken. Until then, they felt, only humans would be capable of that sort of complex behavior (Schmidt, 1992; for similar observations with dolphins, see Smolker, 2001, p. 250).

23 Suicide

Suicide

On rare occasions an elephant has been reported to strangulate itself by pressing a forefoot on the trunk. Once it begins this action, it cannot be scared or cajoled into removing its foot or relaxing its pressure on the trunk (Gale, 1974).

24 But, all this (and there is much more) does not prove thinking because

But, all this (and there is much more) does not prove thinking because

First, sometimes animals do behave remarkably stupidly, so how do you reconcile that with real thinking? For instance, when a herd of elephants is caught in a stockade, they could easily escape by cooperating, together storming the wooden fence, but they never do. An elephants rear leg got wedged between 2 logs that together formed a V shape. He only needed to move his leg backwards to escape. But he never did, and died after 2 weeks.

25 Not necessarily thinking

Not necessarily thinking

. .

Second: Sometimes, observations themselves could be tall tales, wishful thinking? e.g., suicide? Third, a seemingly intelligent behavior is not necessarily intelligent. To see that, we must say a few words about the possible origins of behavior

26 Origin I. genetically programmed behavioral patterns, e.g.,

Origin I. genetically programmed behavioral patterns, e.g.,

knee reflex in human Courtship behavior in Drosophila Common sense, and experiments that will be described below, suggest that this does not require thinking of any kind.

27 How do we know that this is genetically determined (and not involving

How do we know that this is genetically determined (and not involving

thinking)

You isolate males flies from birththey all do it, exactly the same way, when first encountering a mature female. So they couldnt possibly learn it from anyone!

28 Origin II

Origin II

Trial-and-error learning.

Continued trial and failure, until a happy effect is reached, not by methodically planning, but by chance (Morgan, 1920).

29 How can you tell no thinking is involved

How can you tell no thinking is involved

One way: Watch how it had been learned. One famous case: Morgan (1920) happened to have seen his dog learning to lift the latch through random actions.

30 At times, the actions themselves betray their mindlessness

At times, the actions themselves betray their mindlessness

One evening my friend deposited a hungry rat in each of 20 boxes outfitted with the autoshaping programs. When he returned in the morning, he looked at the printout from the rats workouts. All learned to press the bar regularly. But one rat had a suspiciously low rate of bar pressing because the rat would turn, rear up on its hind legs, then fall over backward, hitting the lever with the back of its head. It would then gather itself and collect its reward. The rat did this again and again and again. Apparently, the rat had stumbled (literally!) onto this original solution and it stuck (Yoerg, 2001).

31 Lesson from this:

Lesson from this:

A behavior that appears extremely wise could be anything but. Instead, it could be the result of: Genetic programming Mindless trial and error learning Before concluding that animals think, you must exclude both possibilities

32 Origins III

Origins III

Actions involving thinking

Do we have any convincing proof like this? Any instance of an animal understanding, say, tic-tac-toe? Complex and novel actions? NO

33 What see the opposite

What see the opposite

E.g., when hyena mothers move their cubs from one den to another, they make at least one extra trip to the old den, suggesting the computer-like rule of thumb: revisit the old den until you find no more of your infants there (Holekamp and Engh, 2002, p. 372).

34 Another thing that makes scientists cautious: Clever Hans

Another thing that makes scientists cautious: Clever Hans

35 Clever Hans

Clever Hans

36 A Historical Note

A Historical Note

Konrad Lorenz is not the Father of Ethology (Ethology=Science of Animal Behavior) As often is the case in science, credit here is given to the wrong man. Ethologists wrongly bestow that title on one Konrad Lorenz, a self-promoting, unprincipled, mediocrity. A builder of theories based on . . . thin air.

37 The real (not the public relations expert) father of ethology is the

The real (not the public relations expert) father of ethology is the

little-recognized Jean-Henri Fabre (1823-1915; a working class Frenchman with too many principles, too little patience for premature theories and pompous scientists, and too few connections)

38 Wonderful writing style, e.g., 1915, The Hunting Wasps

Wonderful writing style, e.g., 1915, The Hunting Wasps

Fabre provided beautiful, solid, numerous observational refutations to the then near-universal belief, in his day, that insects think.

39 Here, just a few of his experiments

Here, just a few of his experiments

His work, with digging wasp. Here, lets briefly look at the spider wasp, to grasp the setting: Now, lets look some of his experiments, remembering though that Fabre worked with a different species of wasp, and that this wasp preys on caterpillars, not spiders.

40 In one case, for instance, one species of wasp habitually seized its

In one case, for instance, one species of wasp habitually seized its

paralyzed prey, a grasshopper, by the preys antenna and dragged it into a burrow. When Fabre cut the antenna, the wasp unhesitatingly seized its prey by the short stumps left by the scissors. When he cut the stumps, she seized the prey by its jaw appendages. When he removed the appendages too, the wasp tried grabbing the whole head, which was too big. She fumbled for a while, then left her valuable prey and the burrow she dug for it. Understanding that she could grab one of six legs or the ovipositor instead of an antenna was utterly beyond her powers (Fabre, 1915).

41 2nd experiment suggesting that insects do not think:

2nd experiment suggesting that insects do not think:

A wasp digs a tunnel, flies away, catches a caterpillar, paralyzes it, flies back with it to the tunnel, leaves the caterpillar nearby, goes in to inspect the tunnel, comes out again, grabs the caterpillar, takes it all the way in, lays eggs on it, seals the tunnel, and leaves, never to return.

42 What will happen, Fabre ask himselfand I ask youif, while the wasp

What will happen, Fabre ask himselfand I ask youif, while the wasp

is in the tunnel, the caterpillar is moved some distance away from the entrance?

Answer: She goes to it, brings it back near the entrance to the tunnel, and . . . goes on to inspect. This can be repeated 40 times!

43 Insects, Fabre concluded, are like a series of echoes each awakening

Insects, Fabre concluded, are like a series of echoes each awakening

the next in a settled order, which allows none to sound until the previous one has sounded. What a gulf separate intelligence and instinct!

44 How do you study these questions more methodically

How do you study these questions more methodically

In my case, I first had to get hold of elephants: Detroit Zoo Burma (Texas-size)

45 Burma (Myanmar) had been in the news a few months ago

Burma (Myanmar) had been in the news a few months ago

46 Burma: Makes the USA look like a democracy (and thats saying a great

Burma: Makes the USA look like a democracy (and thats saying a great

deal!)

47 BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think
48 Experiments: A perching raven

Experiments: A perching raven

How to get Salami 3 ft below? ?Any ideas?

49 Now, a raven can do it: insight

Now, a raven can do it: insight

So, how do you ask an elephant the same question? ?Any ideas?

50 Actually, at least two possibilities

Actually, at least two possibilities

Bungee Cord: MM3c2 bunjee Hla Htaik 3rd time.mpg (Also on youtube) Standing over a bridge: MM4d1 bunjee wrapping and foot.mpg (also on youtube)

51 Typically, most ethologists stop here

Typically, most ethologists stop here

They convinced themselves that their hypothesisthat animals are brilliantis correct, and they rest from their labors. But what happens if now, instead of resting, you apply Fabres methodology? Here is what happens: (also on youtube)

52 Another approach: Lifting a lid off a bucket and retrieving a reward

Another approach: Lifting a lid off a bucket and retrieving a reward

Our next example comes from the simple maneuver of lifting a lid off a bucket to get a reward inside the bucket. Now, an elephant can be taught to do this well in some 30-60 minutes. It looks like this: video (also on youtube)

53 Do they understand what they are doing

Do they understand what they are doing

Is there a point where the elephant says to herself: I need to remove lid to get the food? Probably not: Learn gradually

54 BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think
55 After an elephant learned to lift a lid to retrieve food from a bucket

After an elephant learned to lift a lid to retrieve food from a bucket

the lid was placed alongside the bucket while the food was simultaneously placed inside the bucket. All elephants continued to toss the lid before retrieving the reward, raising the possibility that they have no understanding of this simple causal relationship

56 If lid is placed on ground, they still move it first: MM5b2 TS, 3 no

If lid is placed on ground, they still move it first: MM5b2 TS, 3 no

lid, 3 lid top, 3TS-.mpg (Also on youtube)

57 You Got to Know when to suck them

You Got to Know when to suck them

Another experimental setup: Two elephants competing for food, and they can either suck or blow. When alone, they either such or blow. But together, only sucking, suggesting task comprehension

Competition.mpg (also on youtube)

58 The Povinelli Paradigm

The Povinelli Paradigm

A more recent application of Fabres ingenious approach to animal behavior comes from Louisiana researcher Daniel Povinelli. The question he asked is simple yet ingenious, and can be best demonstrated with a one-act play: We need 3 volunteers

59 We carried out similar experiments with 16 elephants

We carried out similar experiments with 16 elephants

60 And, modifying Povinelli, observed chimps Here is Beauty (also on

And, modifying Povinelli, observed chimps Here is Beauty (also on

youtube), from the Detroit Zoo

61 Povinellis Paradigm: Elephant and Chimpanzee Results

Povinellis Paradigm: Elephant and Chimpanzee Results

At times, elephants and chimps understand perfectly well, e.g., back / front. At times, about 65-80% correct response rate At times, pure chance: 50% CONCLUSION: Most likely then, chimps and elephants DO NOT KNOW THAT PEOPLE SEE

62 Importance of Question: Do Animals Think

Importance of Question: Do Animals Think

Clearly, one of the most fundamental questions of comparative psychology, animal behavior, philosophy This question shapes in part our view of the world, ourselves, our uniqueness, e.g., how should we interact with our dog?

63 The End (Elephant Music:

The End (Elephant Music:

BIO 1030 Animal Behavior Unit Can Animals (especially elephants) Think
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