Do Animals Tell Stories?
By Ross Pomeroy | RealClearScience.com
A litany of stories is told within the human mind each day. In a form of "mental time travel," we consciously reconstruct past events to help instruct our present actions.
For example, you might recall that Aunt Margie’s garlic potatoes, served at your family’s last holiday party, were a little heavy on the cream and butter. After devouring three helpings, you became bloated and gassy. Thus, if the dish is served again this year, you’ll scarf only one helping, instead. (Okay, maybe two.)
The process of recalling past situations in narrative detail is called episodic memory. You remember when the event happened, where it happened, what was involved and other context-specific information. These facts come together to form an internal story of sorts.
As far as we know, most other animals do not have episodic memory. Endel Tulving, the influential cognitive psychologist who was the first to differentiate episodic memory from other types, says that animals can adjust, adapt, and learn, but they cannot "travel back into the past in their own minds."
But there are scientists who are working to build a convincing case to the contrary. In a 2006 review, German researchers at Heinrich-Heine-University agglomerated 30 studies examining episodic-like memory in numerous species. According to animal behaviorist, Dr. Patricia McConnell:
In one study cited in the paper (Menzel 1999), a language-trained chimpanzee observed a caretaker hiding a food beyond the fence of the enclosure, out of reach of the chimp. Sixteen hours later, the chimp recruited a different caretaker, who did not know where the food had been hidden, indicated the kind of food hidden and directed the caretaker to the food itself.
In this fascinating instance, the chimp was not only able to recall what it had witnessed, but was able to impart that information -- the when, where and what -- to a human.
More compelling evidence for animal episodic memory originated from a study on scrub jays (medium-sized social birds similar to bluejays). These birds are commonly known to store food in various locations within their territories, over elongated spans of time. Such behavior obviously requires excellent memory.
Read the full article at: realclearscience.com
6 Terrifying Ways Crows Are Way Smarter Than You Think
Crows as Clever as Great Apes, Study Says
Great Ape language
Whales and dolphins are so intelligent they deserve same rights as humans, say experts
Clever Canines: Germany’s educated dogs
Smart US dog learns more than 1,000 words
Latest News from our Front Page
Wotan: The Archetype of the Awakened Aryan Man
Wotan/Woden/Odin represents the archetype of the questing and awakened Aryan man, in particular the questing and awakened Germanic man.
Whilst it is clear from our studies of Germanic mythology that Wotan was not the original primary God of the Germanic pantheon – that honour rests with Tiw/Tyr/Ziu – nevertheless, Wotan represents that questing and awakened part of the Aryo-Germanic soul more than any other deity.
In this article I wish to focus ...
Worker fired over hospital's hardline vaccination policy
Three others suspended under Waikato DHBâ€™s new rule requiring staff to be vaccinated or wear a mask.
One worker has now been sacked for defying a new hard-line policy forcing unvaccinated Waikato District Health Board staff to get flu jabs or wear masks.
A number of staff at the DHB have come forward with concerns since the Weekend Herald revealed that three ...
Bulgaria keeps out migrants with a 50 mile razor wire fence along Turkish border
Keep out: Police chief Ivan Stoyanov at the fenceStretching far into the horizon, this is the super-fence blocking thousands of migrants hoping for a new life in Europe.
As police in Calais struggle to contain thousands trying to storm the Eurotunnel in their desperation to get into Britain, the Bulgarian authorities are shoring up their border with Turkey.
The barriers around the ...
DF wants video to tell refugees to stay away
“If you want to seek happiness in Europe, Denmark is not the right place.”
That’s the message that the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) wants to send loud and clear to asylum seekers.
DF spokesman Martin Henriksen is calling on Denmark to replicate Australia by releasing a video in English and Arabic that will discourage asylum seekers from making their way ...
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone.
In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government.
|More News » |