Thursday, 13 March 2014

Two Interesting Examples of Higher(?) Cognition in Lower(??) Animals

Following our romp through the Umwelten of a wide variety of species, here are two examples Jacob von Uexküll could not have known about.

First: A fish who uses a tool, specifically a rock for bashing open shellfish.

Secondly, nematodes (that's little worms to you and me) who use collective signalling and do so dishonestly.

So tool use and lying.  The more we understand about human cognition, the more we seem to spot similarities between us and other species that have nothing to do with the canonical tree of genetic descent.
To these examples, one might add the convergent evolution of spindle cells in cetaceans and in elephants, which again illustrates a commonality that is not attributable to our primate lineage.  But interpreting neuroanatomy in strictly behavioural terms is a dangerous pastime. 

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