Super Smart Animals (BBC)


Champion Elect
Did anyone else watch this? It's a two part mini-series about the intelligence of animals and personally I would recommend it to anyone, some of the things these animals can/are doing both in the wild and in captivity are amazing. It will be on iPlayer here until the middle of next week.

The grand finale of Liz Bonnin having an actual, if slightly awkward/random, conversation with two apes blew my mind - one of the apes says he wants to go in the car and then proceeds to point out where he wants to go from the passenger seat. In Episode 1 a chimp called Ayumu is able to complete a memory task involving numbers at a difficulty that even humans find impossible, or at least very difficult.

It's not limited to primates though. There are elephants demonstrating team work and a sense of self, creative dolphins, emotional whales and much more! Oh, and the famous skateboarding dog who apparently taught himself, rather than being trained.

I probably haven't done a very good job of explaining this (long day) and it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I would suggest that you give it a go at least.
Only two parts :disappointed: I want more.

Great series. I Iiked the clever Crows and Jays. And the dog that can identify 800 different toys from their name. Amazing.
That chimp that could see 9 numbers on screen for 0.2 seconds and then identify which order they were in was unreal. I couldn't even make out 1 number, way to fast for my eyes and brain.
I find myself fascinated by things like this, we are raised to consider ourslves to be the most intelligent species on earth, yet there are things out there that animals do through instinct and unspoken communication which would take humans years to agree upon let alone carry out. Maybe we have developed too far and are now in the stage where we are too intelligent to co-operate as a species?
My whole life I have been irritated by "intelligent people" (particular those in the scientific community) totally failing to appreciate the evidence right in front of their eyes. It is only in the past couple of years that they have grudgingly conceded that it is not only apes that use tools. This despite countless Attenborough and other documentaries and films clearly showing animals using tools creatively and ingeniously. The fact that crows use zebra crossings for more than just crossing the road speaks volumes for our own lack of imagination.
Maybe we have developed too far and are now in the stage where we are too intelligent to co-operate as a species?

As a species, we are too selfish and arrogant.Look at what 'committees' do for us and then compare that with animal cooperation.

I wouldn't mind betting that some creatures are giggling up their sleeve and taking us for mugs!!
I get a bit annoyed when animal intelligence is compared to humans (although this documentary wasn't too bad), putting a stick in a river to see how deep it is or hitting a peanut with a rock simply can't be compared to flying to the moon, building skyscrapers, and travelling to the bottom of the ocean. That said it is only the very top engineers and scientist that are able to create these.
I only saw the Wednesday one with the chimp that could see and memorize ten numbers flashed on a screen for 0.06 secs. It was incredible - I couldn't even see one number let alone register all ten in order. While I agree with TC that this is not the same depth as what some humans can do, it does deal with many myths about animals being inferior to humans.

Progress for us has come by standing on the shoulders of giants - something the human race is good at doing for itself (teaching, reading and writing and now ICT) and preventing competing species for achieving for themselves (by keeping them in reservations, labs or cages)...
Yes, the point for me is that if animals can display all the sorts of traits that humans do then we really should be treating them better. I'm a vegetarian so I have some feelings about this anyway, but when you consider things like whaling and compare that to the scenes of the young whale coming to investigate and play with Liz on the boat it really makes you think.

I would recommend the Thursday episode as well definitely, the scenes with the elephants and the apes at the end in particular are great.
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