Bird Brain Size
Are birds intelligent or stupid? There is some scientific evidence based on the structure of birds’ brains that birds are more than just feathers stuck on their bodies. The evidence initially focuses on the cerebral cortex, that birds lack. The cerebral cortex plays an essential role in language, thought, memory, awareness, consciousness, and perception. Thus, the cerebral cortex is vital in higher thinking, which explains the reason why some scientists reasoned that birds were simply dumb.
Scientists discovered another part of the bird’s brain named the pallium, which may function similarly to the cerebral cortex. The length of the nerve connections is shorter between sections of a bird’s brain than mammals, which is reasoned to mean that birds can process information rapidly. Do these specialized parts of a bird’s brain mean that a bird is capable of possessing some level of intelligence? Jane Goodall accomplished the landmark behavioral investigation concerning animal intelligence in her classic study of intelligence in the chimpanzee. Some birds have shown indicators of intelligence, such as the ability to mimic speech, and some birds have complex social situations such as the vulturine guinea fowl of eastern Africa, which have tiny heads and brains. Further, a one-day-old chick can tell the difference between objects.
How Do Birds Learn?
Just because birds can imitate a person’s words, does that mean they understand what the words mean? Birds, other than parrots, can imitate what a person is saying to them, such as Budgies, crows, Indian Ringneck Parakeets, Cockatiels, and ravens but do not necessarily understand what they are saying. If a bird understood what words they were repeating, you could carry on a conversation with them, which would represent a permanent change in its behavior because learning has taken place.
You can tell that a person or animal has learned by observing their behavior, which is represented by their ability to acquire information, skills, and knowledge. Animals have limited abilities to learn because of their lack of intellectual capacity. However, animals can show learning behavior using techniques referred to as behavioral conditioning or more accurately Operant Conditioning. The common phrase that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink is not always true when applying operant conditioning techniques.
Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, studied a method of learning which involved dogs. He observed that when a dog was near food, it would salivate. The experimenter was wearing a white coat when the dog was near the food. Pavlov noted that when the dogs saw the white coat, it would salivate even when the food was not present, thereby associating food with a white coat without the presence of food. In another experiment, Pavlov rang a bell in the presence of food, and the dog would naturally salivate because of the food. However, when the food was taken away, and the bell would be latter rung, the dog would still salivate. The dog learned to salivate when the bell rang. This behavior is referred to as classical conditioning, which is a type of learning through the formation of associations. These experiments were a breakthrough in animal learning behavior, proving that animals could learn.
Operant conditioning has other applications in moving a flock of chickens, especially if you are a chicken farmer applying the classical Pavlovian experiment. It is commonly known the chickens love to eat, especially grains. If you want your chickens to move from one place to another, you can associate the sound of a whistle with eating grains in the same manner that the Pavlov associated the sound of a bell with the salivation of dogs to food. The experiment is straightforward. You can present a good quantity of grains to very hungry chickens while blowing a whistle. Then you would take the food away, leaving hungry chickens very hungry. You would make this association with the whistle, the chickens, and the grain several times and then remove the grain and walk far enough away from the chickens, so they do not see you while you place the grain on the ground. What do you think could happen when you blew the whistle in the direction of very hungry chickens? Make sure you duck out of the way.
What are the Weird Bugs that Look Like Blueberries Outside of This Woman’s Home?
If you have ever stared at a spot and suddenly it moved, then you can probably relate to what this poor woman was going through. Recently, a story was published about a woman in Texas who couldn’t quite figure out what she was looking at. This woman lives just outside of Houston and spotted something strange on the side of her house. At first, she thought it was dirty; however, she quickly realized that she was dealing with something that was actually alive.
For those who might not be bug people, this story might be a bit much. They might even think they would actually run away from whatever it was that this woman was dealing with; however, the story quickly attracted the attention of the internet who went to work trying to figure out what this poor woman had on the size of her house. After all, these bugs might be something that is actually doing something dangerous to the side of her home. This is where the good samaritans of the internet world can come in handy.
She was working outside of her house in Houston one day. She was staring at what was happening on the side of her house when, suddenly, what she thought were just spots actually started to move. On closer examination, the bugs actually looked something like blueberries; however, nobody would want to make a pie out of whatever it is that these creatures are. They appeared to have legs and antennae, confirming that they were, in fact, something that people would definitely not want to eat; however, this doesn’t exactly narrow down the identity of these strange critters. It simply rules out non-food options.
The true mystery surrounding these critters is the way in which they move. In a video that was posted on the woman’s YouTube page, it almost looks like they are dancing. In the eyes of many, these critters appear to have some sort of formation they are using to dance for others. They actually look almost like a marching band, similar to the ones that get into strange formations during shows at the halftimes of football games. They are truly some of the most mysterious bugs that people have ever laid their eyes on.
In fact, people have confirmed this sentiment because the comments started to flood through this woman’s YouTube page. It seems like people were quickly interested in trying to find out more information about these strange bugs. They were asking questions and providing suggestions as to the identity of these strange critters. At least they didn’t bite this poor lady, at least according to the video. That would have been a total disaster!
There were a number of interesting suggestions in the YouTube comments section. Some people seem to think they are something called Southern Green Stink Bug nymphs. Others were calling them Kudzu bugs. On the other hand, nobody seemed to be 100 percent certain as to the identity of these bugs. People are still curious, asking the lady if she ever did figure out what exactly they were!
The mystery has only added to the viral nature of the video. There are many people who would like to figure out what these strange things are. Up until this point, nobody has actually suggested that they are blueberries that should be eaten. It is pretty incredible to watch these bugs move together in a special formation. If nothing else, these bugs certainly know how to put on a show for the camera.
Four White Lions Charm Zoo Staff & Earn Their Freedom
White lions are exceedingly rare, with their numbers estimated to be no greater than 300 worldwide- if you don’t count the 80’s, hair-metal band of the same name. The white mane and body hair are caused by a mutation that happens once only over several thousand lion births.
So, when these four white lion cubs were taken into care in 2017, zoo staff and visitors were charmed by their tendency to want to cuddle each other and to stay close inside the basket they were given to sleep in.
It was decided that the lions would be given special care since their bright white fur is considered to be a major handicap in the wild. The lions had not been involved in an accident or injured- so there was no reason to keep them caged up longer than necessary. They were allowed to grow up within a limited controlled habitat but were slowly introduced to the wild and allowed to have their freedom.
The worry was that the bright white fur would make hunting abnormally difficult for the cubs, making survival in the wild unlikely. But the lions were healthy enough that it was decided they deserved a chance to live on their own.
Up until the day of their final release, the adorable white lion cubs charmed visitors and zoo staff alike. They remained very close and friendly with each other throughout their stay at the zoo. Even as adolescents, the white lions slept in close proximity and would cuddle and clean each other regularly.
After having grown to a sufficient size, over a period of seven months, the lions were slowly given the chance to move out into the African wildlands where they eventually made their homes. They seemed to know that they were not as well camouflaged as normal lions, and made more effort to hide from their prey before striking from hidden locations. The animal carers took this as a positive sign and eventually allowed the four white lions to venture out on their own with radio tags in their ears allowing wildlife professionals to track their progress and monitor their location.
The lions are three years old today. They have been closely monitored via radio-tracking and their behavior and their progress have been deemed normal and healthy. They have not strayed from their optimal environment, and have not threatened any human habitations.
The lead researcher in the project to follow the animals said, “The white lion cubs have shown a level of awareness of their strange coloration that we did not expect. They did not behave like properly camouflaged lions. They behaved as if they understood that they would be spotted by their prey immediately if the engaged in a chase over a long distance. Instead, they survive as ambush predators, something we see more of in crocodiles. But these four cats have managed to make it work for them too.”
Care to Play With the Lion?
Everyone needs exercise to be healthy, even animals. If you’re a pet owner then you are probably aware of your pet’s need to be taken for walks, be played with, and to get to stretch his or her legs once in a while. Well, it’s no different for large wild animals like lions. In fact, the team of animal carers at San Diego Zoo needed to figure out a clever way to get their lion, named Mazinger, into more physical activity.
Mazinger had been rescued some months prior to the video from would-be poachers who had injured Mazinger’s front left leg. After healing up over a few weeks, Mazinger started feeling like his old self again, and the enclosure he was kept in didn’t have the space or the activity he needed to be satisfied.
The animal carers started by discussing ways to help the lion to get some activity in while he was kept in the relatively small enclosure which is only about 40 by 50 square feet in size- big enough for a smaller animal- but not for the king of the jungle. So zoo staff started with a system of ropes that they would pull through the enclosure with a piece of meat or something that would catch the lion’s attention. Then they would try to pull the rope through to give Mazinger the feeling of having chased something.
Of course, the fun was short-lived as even rehabilitating full-grown lions are quite strong. Mazinger would seize the rope, and that would be the end of the game. The animal carers knew that he would need to be given more of a challenge.
Lion exhibit staff, Brian Carr said, “We had to keep him in that enclosure until a larger and more suitable one could be made ready. But that was weeks out still. So we needed to help Mazinger to feel more like himself in the shorter term. In the end, we found a simple solution.”
The solution they found was to secure a large piece of meat to a strong length of rope and to feed that into a small opening in the strong iron fence. The end would be flicked out with a stick from above to give it some range and to catch Mazinger’s attention. Before long, several of the exhibit staff were engaged in a hilarious game of tug of war with a fully grown African lion. They did this every day for about a week before they decided they could invite members of the public to play tug of war with Mazinger.
The event was short-lived, but it was a great success. Dozens of people came each day just to play tug of war with the lion. It did seem to boost Mazinger’s spirits to have a little competition.
Sometime later, he was moved to the larger exhibit, where he has been seen “tugging” things like tree branches. The staff at the new exhibit still occasionally manage to get Mazinger into a friendly game.
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