Cognition

The science or study of primitive societies and the nature of man.

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Ishtar
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Post by Ishtar » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:03 pm

john wrote:
All -

Because of the incredible inferiority complex brought on

By not being born an ape.


hoka hey


john
:D

There may some truth in that!

pattylt
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Post by pattylt » Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:56 pm

All -

Because of the incredible inferiority complex brought on

By not being born an ape.
Gotta be one of your best lines ever!

<goes to clean coffee off the keyboard>
I always like a dog so long as he isn't spelled backward.

Minimalist
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Post by Minimalist » Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:36 pm

One of these, eh Patty?

Image
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

zan
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:58 am

Post by zan » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:04 pm

Hi Ish....I made it!
Ishtar wrote: The author is not even religious, although admittedly the review of the book is written by a Christian which, last time I looked, was not a crime.
He (Berlinski) is a secular Jew, a self-described agnostic, and by his own admission — a crank.

Ishtar wrote:
What Berlinsky means is, despite the “education” we give to those poor apes that we subject to our trials, they are not evolving. They are not developing a greater intelligence. Their brains are not forming synapses enabling them to think, speak and behave like adults - let alone produce artwork of the quality of the cave paintings that were produced by the Neanderthals, despite having the added advantage of not having to invent their own paintbrushes and paints. A few of them can slowly and painfully learn party tricks in exchange for treats. That’s all.
People (my self included at times) has a tendency of trying to apply human standards and norms to animals and so if we must....

It is well known that children’s activities are full of pretending and imagination, but it is less appreciated that animals can also show similar activities. This is the first book to focus on comparing and contrasting children’s and animals’ pretenses and imaginative activities.

cambridge.org

A hungry chimpanzee walking through his native rain forest comes upon a large Panda oleosa nut lying on the ground under one of the widely scattered Panda trees. He knows that these nuts are much too hard to open with his hands or teeth and that although he can use pieces of wood or relatively soft rocks to batter open the more abundant Coula edulis nuts, these tough Panda nuts can only be cracked by pounding them with a very hard piece of rock. Very few stones are available in the rain forest, but he walks 80 meters straight to another tree where several days ago he had cracked open a Panda nut with a large chunk of granite. He carries this rock back to the nut he has just found, places it in a crotch between two buttress roots, and cracks it open with a few well-aimed blows. (The loud noises of chimpanzees cracking nuts with rocks had led early European explorers to suspect that some unknown native tribe was forging metal tools in the depths of the rain forest.)

In a city park in Japan, a hungry green-backed heron picks up a twig, breaks it into small pieces, and carries one of these to the edge of a pond, where she drops it into the water. At first it drifts away, but she picks it up and brings it back. She watches the floating twig intently until small minnows swim up to it, and she then seizes one by a rapid thrusting grab with her long, sharp bill. Another green-backed heron from the same colony carries bits of material to a branch extending out over the pond and tosses the bait into the water below. When minnows approach this bait, he flies down and seizes one on the wing.

Must we reject, or repress, any suggestion that the chimpanzees or the herons think consciously about the tasty food they manage to obtain by these coordinated actions? Many animals adapt their behavior to the challenges they face either under natural conditions or in laboratory experiments. This has persuaded many scientists that some sort of cognition must be required to orchestrate such versatile behavior. For example, in other parts of Africa chimpanzees select suitable branches from which they break off twigs to produce a slender probe, which they carry some distance to poke it into a termite nest and eat the termites clinging to it as it is withdrawn. Apes have also learned to use artificial communication systems to ask for objects and activities they want and to answer simple questions about pictures of familiar things. Vervet monkeys employ different alarm calls to inform their companions about particular types of predator.

Tool use.....alarm system.....

press.uchicago.edu
Animals can reason out tool usage read the above link.

Also:

Experiments have been made on fishes, reptiles, birds and various mammals, notably dogs, cats, mice and monkeys, to see how they learned to do certain simple things in order [p. 283] to get food. All these animals manifest fundamentally the same sort of intellectual life. Their learning is after the same general type. What that type is can be seen best from a concrete instance. A monkey was kept in a large cage. Into the cage was put a box, the door of which was held closed by a wire fastened to a nail which was inserted in a hole in the top of the box. If the nail was pulled up out of the hole, the door could be pulled open. In this box was apiece of banana. The monkey, attracted by the new object, came down from the top of the cage and fussed over the box. He pulled at the wire, at the door, and at the bars in the front of the box. He pushed the box about and tipped it up and down. He played with the nail and finally pulled it out. When he happened to pull the door again, of course it opened. He reached in and got the food inside. It had taken him 36 minutes to get in. Another piece of food being put in and the door closed, the occurrences of the first trial were repeated, but there was less of the profitless pulling and tip-ping. He got in this time in 2 minutes and 20 seconds. With repeated trials the animal finally came to drop entirely the profitless acts and to take the nail out and open the door as soon as the box was put in his cage. He had, we should say, learned to get in.
...................................

Here we have the simplest and at the same time the most widespread sort of intellect or learning in the world. There is no reasoning, no process of inference or comparison; there is no thinking about things, no putting two and two together; there are no ideas -- the animal does not think of the box or of the food or of the act he is to perform. He simply comes after the learning to feel like doing a certain thing under certain circumstances which before the learning he did not feel like doing. Human beings are accustomed to think of intellect as the power of having and controlling ideas and of ability to learn as synonymous with ability to have ideas. But learning by having ideas is really one of the rare and isolated events in nature. There may be a few scattered ideas possessed by the higher animals, but the common form of intelligence with them, their habitual method of learning, is not by the acquisition of ideas, but by the selection of impulses.

Indeed this same type of learning is found in man. When we learn to drive a golf ball or play tennis or billiards, when we learn to tell the price of tea by tasting it or to strike a certain note exactly with the voice, we do not learn in the main by virtue of any ideas that are explained to us, by any inferences that we reason out. We learn by the gradual selection of the appropriate act or judgment, by its association with the circumstances or situation requiring it, in just the way that the animals do.

psychclassics.yorku.ca

That is the only thing that separates man from animal.....abstract thought.....but then how can we be sure of that?

You can't teach a monkey an abstract concept such as world peace, but you can teach it -- with much patience and effort -- to apply a general rule to different situations.

The researchers trained monkeys to identify whether hundreds of different pictures were the same or different. By recording signals from brain cells in the prefrontal cortex of monkeys as they perform cognitive tasks, scientists explore which circuits hold information "in mind," a skill necessary for information processing and thinking.

The monkeys were sometimes required to release a joystick if a picture was the same as the one shown before it and sometimes if the pictures were different. The monkeys could apply the rule to pictures they had never seen before, showing that they were really dealing with abstractions, Wallis said.

web.mit.edu
Two characteristics of an environment are necessary to support the evolution of tool behaviors in animals. First of all, the use of tools must be advantageous to the animal. The examples which follow illustrate the advantages of tool use for the Egyptian vultures, chimpanzees, hooded monkeys, woodpecker finches, and green herons. Secondly, animal tool use is constrained by the availability of objects in the environment which make feasible tools. Without access to stones, poles, pieces of wood, and cactus spines, these animals would not have been able to acquire the uses of tools which they have.

Source
More Info

More animal tools

The finding of a parrot with an almost unparalleled power to communicate with people has brought scientists up short.

The bird, a captive African grey called N'kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.

He invents his own words and phrases if he is confronted with novel ideas with which his existing repertoire cannot cope - just as a human child would do.

N'kisi's remarkable abilities, which are said to include telepathy, feature in the latest BBC Wildlife Magazine.

N'kisi is believed to be one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world.

About 100 words are needed for half of all reading in English, so if N'kisi could read he would be able to cope with a wide range of material.
Polished wordsmith

He uses words in context, with past, present and future tenses, and is often inventive.

One N'kisi-ism was "flied" for "flew", and another "pretty smell medicine" to describe the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, an artist based in New York.

When he first met Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned chimpanzee expert, after seeing her in a picture with apes, N'kisi said: "Got a chimp?"

He appears to fancy himself as a humourist. When another parrot hung upside down from its perch, he commented: "You got to put this bird on the camera."

Dr Goodall says N'kisi's verbal fireworks are an "outstanding example of interspecies communication".

In an experiment, the bird and his owner were put in separate rooms and filmed as the artist opened random envelopes containing picture cards.

Analysis showed the parrot had used appropriate keywords three times more often than would be likely by chance.

Captives' frustrations

This was despite the researchers discounting responses like "What ya doing on the phone?" when N'kisi saw a card of a man with a telephone, and "Can I give you a hug?" with one of a couple embracing.

Professor Donald Broom, of the University of Cambridge's School of Veterinary Medicine, said: "The more we look at the cognitive abilities of animals, the more advanced they appear, and the biggest leap of all has been with parrots."

Alison Hales, of the World Parrot Trust, told BBC News Online: "N'kisi's amazing vocabulary and sense of humour should make everyone who has a pet parrot consider whether they are meeting its needs.

"They may not be able to ask directly, but parrots are long-lived, and a bit of research now could mean an improved quality of life for years."

SOURCE
I have posted this in a different forum in the past so I am not sure if all of the links are still good.

There are very few if any traits that so called "civilized" man has that CAN NOT be found in the rest of the animal kingdom.....or for that matter the plant kingdom as well.

There is one abhorrent trait that is prevalent in humans......

Minimalist
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Post by Minimalist » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:22 pm

Hey, Zan...


One advantage to discussions here as opposed to Koko's is that you-know-who is not here.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

zan
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Post by zan » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:51 pm

Thats half the fun.....Image

Ishtar
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Post by Ishtar » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:06 pm

Hey Zan

Welcome!

I'll give your post some more attention tomorrow ... it's getting late here.

Just to say for now, Berlinsky describes himself as a 'lapsed Jew'. I take that to mean that he's a Jew by race and not by religion. By those terms, I guess, I'm 'lapsed Church of England'! :D Anyway, at least he's not a creationist!

zan
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:58 am

Post by zan » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:29 pm

Berlinski is also a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, a Seattle-based think-tank that is hub of the intelligent design movement.
"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan

The only restraints that we have on our mind are the ones that we impose on ourself. We are limited by our own thinking.

kbs2244
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:47 pm

Post by kbs2244 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:19 pm

I will watch from the sidelines Ish.
(But I do think that the idea that “God used evolution” is a complete wimp out used by people afraid to stand up for their beliefs.)

I am afraid, though, that the current theme is leading away from my sisters long held belief that “All Good Dogs Go To Heaven.”

User avatar
john
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Post by john » Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:22 pm

zan wrote:Hi Ish....I made it!
Ishtar wrote: The author is not even religious, although admittedly the review of the book is written by a Christian which, last time I looked, was not a crime.
He (Berlinski) is a secular Jew, a self-described agnostic, and by his own admission — a crank.

Ishtar wrote:
What Berlinsky means is, despite the “education” we give to those poor apes that we subject to our trials, they are not evolving. They are not developing a greater intelligence. Their brains are not forming synapses enabling them to think, speak and behave like adults - let alone produce artwork of the quality of the cave paintings that were produced by the Neanderthals, despite having the added advantage of not having to invent their own paintbrushes and paints. A few of them can slowly and painfully learn party tricks in exchange for treats. That’s all.
People (my self included at times) has a tendency of trying to apply human standards and norms to animals and so if we must....

It is well known that children’s activities are full of pretending and imagination, but it is less appreciated that animals can also show similar activities. This is the first book to focus on comparing and contrasting children’s and animals’ pretenses and imaginative activities.

cambridge.org

A hungry chimpanzee walking through his native rain forest comes upon a large Panda oleosa nut lying on the ground under one of the widely scattered Panda trees. He knows that these nuts are much too hard to open with his hands or teeth and that although he can use pieces of wood or relatively soft rocks to batter open the more abundant Coula edulis nuts, these tough Panda nuts can only be cracked by pounding them with a very hard piece of rock. Very few stones are available in the rain forest, but he walks 80 meters straight to another tree where several days ago he had cracked open a Panda nut with a large chunk of granite. He carries this rock back to the nut he has just found, places it in a crotch between two buttress roots, and cracks it open with a few well-aimed blows. (The loud noises of chimpanzees cracking nuts with rocks had led early European explorers to suspect that some unknown native tribe was forging metal tools in the depths of the rain forest.)

In a city park in Japan, a hungry green-backed heron picks up a twig, breaks it into small pieces, and carries one of these to the edge of a pond, where she drops it into the water. At first it drifts away, but she picks it up and brings it back. She watches the floating twig intently until small minnows swim up to it, and she then seizes one by a rapid thrusting grab with her long, sharp bill. Another green-backed heron from the same colony carries bits of material to a branch extending out over the pond and tosses the bait into the water below. When minnows approach this bait, he flies down and seizes one on the wing.

Must we reject, or repress, any suggestion that the chimpanzees or the herons think consciously about the tasty food they manage to obtain by these coordinated actions? Many animals adapt their behavior to the challenges they face either under natural conditions or in laboratory experiments. This has persuaded many scientists that some sort of cognition must be required to orchestrate such versatile behavior. For example, in other parts of Africa chimpanzees select suitable branches from which they break off twigs to produce a slender probe, which they carry some distance to poke it into a termite nest and eat the termites clinging to it as it is withdrawn. Apes have also learned to use artificial communication systems to ask for objects and activities they want and to answer simple questions about pictures of familiar things. Vervet monkeys employ different alarm calls to inform their companions about particular types of predator.

Tool use.....alarm system.....

press.uchicago.edu
Animals can reason out tool usage read the above link.

Also:

Experiments have been made on fishes, reptiles, birds and various mammals, notably dogs, cats, mice and monkeys, to see how they learned to do certain simple things in order [p. 283] to get food. All these animals manifest fundamentally the same sort of intellectual life. Their learning is after the same general type. What that type is can be seen best from a concrete instance. A monkey was kept in a large cage. Into the cage was put a box, the door of which was held closed by a wire fastened to a nail which was inserted in a hole in the top of the box. If the nail was pulled up out of the hole, the door could be pulled open. In this box was apiece of banana. The monkey, attracted by the new object, came down from the top of the cage and fussed over the box. He pulled at the wire, at the door, and at the bars in the front of the box. He pushed the box about and tipped it up and down. He played with the nail and finally pulled it out. When he happened to pull the door again, of course it opened. He reached in and got the food inside. It had taken him 36 minutes to get in. Another piece of food being put in and the door closed, the occurrences of the first trial were repeated, but there was less of the profitless pulling and tip-ping. He got in this time in 2 minutes and 20 seconds. With repeated trials the animal finally came to drop entirely the profitless acts and to take the nail out and open the door as soon as the box was put in his cage. He had, we should say, learned to get in.
...................................

Here we have the simplest and at the same time the most widespread sort of intellect or learning in the world. There is no reasoning, no process of inference or comparison; there is no thinking about things, no putting two and two together; there are no ideas -- the animal does not think of the box or of the food or of the act he is to perform. He simply comes after the learning to feel like doing a certain thing under certain circumstances which before the learning he did not feel like doing. Human beings are accustomed to think of intellect as the power of having and controlling ideas and of ability to learn as synonymous with ability to have ideas. But learning by having ideas is really one of the rare and isolated events in nature. There may be a few scattered ideas possessed by the higher animals, but the common form of intelligence with them, their habitual method of learning, is not by the acquisition of ideas, but by the selection of impulses.

Indeed this same type of learning is found in man. When we learn to drive a golf ball or play tennis or billiards, when we learn to tell the price of tea by tasting it or to strike a certain note exactly with the voice, we do not learn in the main by virtue of any ideas that are explained to us, by any inferences that we reason out. We learn by the gradual selection of the appropriate act or judgment, by its association with the circumstances or situation requiring it, in just the way that the animals do.

psychclassics.yorku.ca

That is the only thing that separates man from animal.....abstract thought.....but then how can we be sure of that?

You can't teach a monkey an abstract concept such as world peace, but you can teach it -- with much patience and effort -- to apply a general rule to different situations.

The researchers trained monkeys to identify whether hundreds of different pictures were the same or different. By recording signals from brain cells in the prefrontal cortex of monkeys as they perform cognitive tasks, scientists explore which circuits hold information "in mind," a skill necessary for information processing and thinking.

The monkeys were sometimes required to release a joystick if a picture was the same as the one shown before it and sometimes if the pictures were different. The monkeys could apply the rule to pictures they had never seen before, showing that they were really dealing with abstractions, Wallis said.

web.mit.edu
Two characteristics of an environment are necessary to support the evolution of tool behaviors in animals. First of all, the use of tools must be advantageous to the animal. The examples which follow illustrate the advantages of tool use for the Egyptian vultures, chimpanzees, hooded monkeys, woodpecker finches, and green herons. Secondly, animal tool use is constrained by the availability of objects in the environment which make feasible tools. Without access to stones, poles, pieces of wood, and cactus spines, these animals would not have been able to acquire the uses of tools which they have.

Source
More Info

More animal tools

The finding of a parrot with an almost unparalleled power to communicate with people has brought scientists up short.

The bird, a captive African grey called N'kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.

He invents his own words and phrases if he is confronted with novel ideas with which his existing repertoire cannot cope - just as a human child would do.

N'kisi's remarkable abilities, which are said to include telepathy, feature in the latest BBC Wildlife Magazine.

N'kisi is believed to be one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world.

About 100 words are needed for half of all reading in English, so if N'kisi could read he would be able to cope with a wide range of material.
Polished wordsmith

He uses words in context, with past, present and future tenses, and is often inventive.

One N'kisi-ism was "flied" for "flew", and another "pretty smell medicine" to describe the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, an artist based in New York.

When he first met Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned chimpanzee expert, after seeing her in a picture with apes, N'kisi said: "Got a chimp?"

He appears to fancy himself as a humourist. When another parrot hung upside down from its perch, he commented: "You got to put this bird on the camera."

Dr Goodall says N'kisi's verbal fireworks are an "outstanding example of interspecies communication".

In an experiment, the bird and his owner were put in separate rooms and filmed as the artist opened random envelopes containing picture cards.

Analysis showed the parrot had used appropriate keywords three times more often than would be likely by chance.

Captives' frustrations

This was despite the researchers discounting responses like "What ya doing on the phone?" when N'kisi saw a card of a man with a telephone, and "Can I give you a hug?" with one of a couple embracing.

Professor Donald Broom, of the University of Cambridge's School of Veterinary Medicine, said: "The more we look at the cognitive abilities of animals, the more advanced they appear, and the biggest leap of all has been with parrots."

Alison Hales, of the World Parrot Trust, told BBC News Online: "N'kisi's amazing vocabulary and sense of humour should make everyone who has a pet parrot consider whether they are meeting its needs.

"They may not be able to ask directly, but parrots are long-lived, and a bit of research now could mean an improved quality of life for years."

SOURCE
I have posted this in a different forum in the past so I am not sure if all of the links are still good.

There are very few if any traits that so called "civilized" man has that CAN NOT be found in the rest of the animal kingdom.....or for that matter the plant kingdom as well.


zan -


“He who borrows Medusa's eye
Resigns himself to the empirical lie
The knower petrifies the known
And the subtle dancer turns to stone.”
Where the Wasteland Ends by Theodore Roszak


Welcome.

hoka hey

john


There is one abhorrent trait that is prevalent in humans......
"Man is a marvellous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is sort of a low-grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm."

Mark Twain

Minimalist
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Post by Minimalist » Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:28 pm

There is one abhorrent trait that is prevalent in humans......

Farting in elevators?
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

zan
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:58 am

Post by zan » Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:58 am

John wrote:zan -


“He who borrows Medusa's eye
Resigns himself to the empirical lie
The knower petrifies the known
And the subtle dancer turns to stone.”
Where the Wasteland Ends by Theodore Roszak


Welcome.

hoka hey
Okí and thank you

“A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow
it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.”

Crazy Horse, Sioux Chief

Minimalist wrote:
There is one abhorrent trait that is prevalent in humans......

Farting in elevators?
Make that 2....

EDIT: Fixed quote tag and John...you remind me of someone else I know.
"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan

The only restraints that we have on our mind are the ones that we impose on ourself. We are limited by our own thinking.

Ishtar
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by Ishtar » Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:07 am

Zan, had a chance now to go through your articles about the cognition of animals and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d heard about N’kisi the parrot, obviously, but just reading those quotes of his that show his intelligence made me laugh so much. I think, actually, we could do with N’kisi on this forum.



Image




But I’ve never doubted the intelligence of animals and their cognitive ability when we ask them to perform tasks that we regularly perform in our human world.

However, it does the beg the question, how well would we do the other way round?

If being able to learn from another species is the litmus test for evolution, how evolved would we be considered to be?

If we were put in a nest, and made to flap our arms and jump out, how many of us would fly? If we were adopted by a pride of lions and then told to go and bring down that giraffe over yonder for supper, with no weapons, how well would we manage?

“We’re not physically adapted for it,” could be one excuse. But monkeys are not physically (or mentally) adapted to have to fiddle with nails, doors, wires and boxes to get at their food....but they can do it.

That animals can learn from humans, in my opinion, is not evidence of their evolving into humans, or even evolving at all. They are intelligent beings and they want to please us, to interact with us, and also they want to get fed. And so they put up with the hoops we make them jump through.

Have you ever seen dolphins performing? I find it almost embarrassing. Maybe it’s something about the smiles on their faces ... but no, it’s more than that...and I definitely feel like I’m being humoured.



Image




To go back to N’kisi, to me he is a living example of the theory of revolution, and not the theory of evolution. N’kisi's appearance in the parrot world is the equivalent of HSS’s seemingly sudden appearance in the human world. He’s even got telepathy!

The appearance of HSS is considered by some now to be a great leap forward rather than a gradual and incremental evolution from Homo Erectus or the Neanderthals. In other words, HSS seemed to appear from nowhere – just like N’kisi.

Ishtar
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Post by Ishtar » Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:55 am

Guys, it's a little bit out of date but I just had to post this news article for the headline, if nothing else....! (I will resist posting any pictures).


Great tits challenge evolutionary theory


News
6 January 2005


A team of Oxford zoologists involved in the world’s longest continuous bird population study have shed new light on the evolution of one of Britain’s most common birds, the great tit. Researchers from the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology (EGI) at the University of Oxford have discovered that contrary to standard evolutionary theory, wild birds living only a short distance apart are evolving differently.

Evolutionary theory predicts that the diversity of local animal population depends on a balance between two factors: the diversifying effect of selection and the homogenising effect upon the gene pool of dispersal. According to this theory, dispersal amongst the animal population in a small area will cancel out genetic variation. The Oxford team’s findings, published today in Nature, challenge this theory by demonstrating evolutionary differentiation amongst the great tit population of Wytham, Oxfordshire.

Researchers at the EGI have been studying great tits in Wytham, Oxfordshire, since 1947. For the purposes of this study, the researchers analysed the weight of nestlings at Wytham over a 36-year period. The team found that over time, birds in different parts of the same woodland had evolved in different directions, getting heavier in one part and lighter in another.

Professor Ben Sheldon, Luc Hoffmann Professor of Field Ornithology and Director of the EGI, led the study. He said: ‘Our data show that dispersal of birds is not a random process, and that evolutionary differentiation can be rapid and can occur over surprisingly small spatial scales. Our findings have important implications for questions of scale of adaptation and speciation, and challenge the usual treatment of dispersal as a force opposing evolutionary differentiation.’

The researchers expect that their findings could apply to animals in many different situations. ‘Human intervention has caused a mosaic of different habitats across the UK,’ Professor Sheldon commented. ‘This may lead to evolutionary differentiation within species, as animals with particular characteristics settle in the habitats that best suit them."

http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/po/050106.shtml

kbs2244
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:47 pm

Post by kbs2244 » Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:40 am

Ther headline writer and his editor deserve a raise.

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