Octopus Builds a House

January 12, 2010

In another wonderful example of animal intelligence, this video shows an octopus deliberately collecting two coconut shell halves and making a spherical home for protection/hiding.

The video and full article on the subject can be found on the site for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Aussie scientists find coconut-carrying octopus


New York: Our bears are smarter than your bears … and some hikers

July 26, 2009

Bear-Proof Can Is Pop-Top Picnic for a Crafty Thief

This is very cool, IMNSHO. I like that Yellow Yellow can open a canister with which some hikers struggle. I also found the possibility of some level of teaching of other bears to be fascinating. I love this stuff!

I am glad that they are not talking about harming or removing this non-aggressive bear. I hope that someone will realize that the right solution is probably to put permanent truly bear-proof steel structures at the documented camp sites in the Adirondacks. Perhaps I’ll send email to the Adirondack Council.

Thanks rit.


Orangutans Join the Ranks of Apes With Medical Knowledge

August 24, 2008

I’m probably a month late and thirty dollars short on this one. However, last month, an article in New Scientist detailed the observation of orangutans self-medicating with an anti-inflammatory topical balm. The observation of rubbing an ointment into the fur is also a newly documented type of self-medication for any non-human ape. I love this type of information. It shows once again that the vast majority of differences between humans and other animals are differences in magnitude, not in kind.

Wild orangutans treat pain with natural anti-inflammatory


More Evidence of Surprisingly High Non-Human Animal Intelligence

March 4, 2008

When people think of highly intelligent animals, most think of primates, dolphins, and possibly elephants. Some will add parrots and members of the crow family, but only if they’ve read quite a bit on the subject. Most of us also sort of intuitively get that most predators are smarter than most herbivores, despite exceptions like elephants.

However, even though I have read quite a bit about animal intelligence, I was still surprised by the level of intelligence, especially social intelligence, being shown by spotted hyenas.

Hyenas — Sociable and Smart

I hope this will also provide yet another bit of strong evidence for our moral responsibility toward the other intelligences with whom we share this beautiful and unusual planet. Please see my Moral Considerability post for a further and ongoing discussion of interspecies morality.