If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(BBC)   Researchers discover elephants not only remember, they also get the point   (bbc.co.uk) divider line 21
    More: Spiffy, elephants, convergent evolution, University of St Andrews, evolutionary tree, terrestrial animal, motions  
•       •       •

1884 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Oct 2013 at 7:23 AM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



21 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2013-10-11 01:27:55 AM
I would think that elephants understanding human gestures would be a significant survival trait at this point.
 
2013-10-11 01:47:05 AM

naughtyrev: I would think that elephants understanding human gestures would be a significant survival trait at this point.


Especially when the pointing involves a rifle.
 
2013-10-11 06:49:02 AM
This makes them the only non-human animals to understand the gesture without being trained to do so.

I have a hard time believing that pointing is a hard cue to follow.
 
2013-10-11 06:53:35 AM
Scientists are so farking slow to clean house.

Humans are part of nature. Our intelligence is as similar blood, skeletons, organs, etc because it all comes from the same evolutionary chain! Enough trying to cling to outdated vivisectionist BS about animals being autonmatons.
 
2013-10-11 07:48:24 AM

fusillade762: This makes them the only non-human animals to understand the gesture without being trained to do so.

I have a hard time believing that pointing is a hard cue to follow.


Most animals don't understand pointing. They'll look at the hand/arm instead of the thing pointed at. Especially for 4 legged animals this makes sense, it isn't as if they ever had the ability to point at things and then learn to interpret other animals doing that. I guess elephants might be an exception because they get to point at things with their trunk.
 
2013-10-11 07:59:00 AM

fusillade762: This makes them the only non-human animals to understand the gesture without being trained to do so.

I have a hard time believing that pointing is a hard cue to follow.


Haven't read the article yet, but most animals just don't get it.  They just look at your hand and don't understand that it's trying to direct them to something.  I don't even think chimpanzees have an understanding of it.  There's just no symbological recognition for it, which comes out of our ability to abstract.

What animals usually understand is eye gaze.  They are rather adept at telling where another animal is looking at, or at least to get a good general direction.  A very useful tool for both predators and prey.  Predators use it for picking out a target, even if the predators themselves are at a distance from one another, to figure out if their location is currently being looked at by their prey or if they've been spotted, alerting others to potential danger, etc.  Prey use it to quickly determine a source of danger once one member spots it, to figure out if they're the one who is being targeted, to figure out whether or not their location is being looked at by a predator or if they've been spotted, etc.

If Elephants can understand pointing without any training in the matter, it likely means that they too have an ability to abstract, which means that they could potentially be an extremely complex animal, mentally speaking (more so than we already thought), depending on how good that ability is, and being able to understand pointing is actually a pretty high level abstraction.  So many things have arisen out of our own ability for abstraction:  Art, Language, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Tool Use, etc.
 
2013-10-11 08:01:24 AM
FTA:"The next step [in our research] is to test whether when an elephant extends its trunk upwards and outwards - as they regularly do, such as when detecting a predator, this functions as a point."

That's the first thing I thought of when reading the article-- not the specific movement of the trunk (as I am not familiar with elephants at that level) but the idea that a human extending its arm toward something looks similar to a trunk. If elephants use a similar technique they're going to make the same association.
 
2013-10-11 08:06:08 AM
the animals seemed to grasp the meaning of pointing from the outset

in-the-cup.com
 
2013-10-11 08:19:06 AM

fusillade762: This makes them the only non-human animals to understand the gesture without being trained to do so.

I have a hard time believing that pointing is a hard cue to follow.


PBS Nova: Ape Genius

if this is true about elephants, it is a huge 'discovery'.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-10-11 08:33:35 AM
A study a few years ago showed that one difference between wolves and dogs is, dogs understand pointing.
 
2013-10-11 08:44:37 AM

ZAZ: A study a few years ago showed that one difference between wolves and dogs is, dogs understand pointing.


werewolf? there wolf -->
 
2013-10-11 09:05:14 AM

doglover: Scientists are so farking slow to clean house.

Humans are part of nature. Our intelligence is as similar blood, skeletons, organs, etc because it all comes from the same evolutionary chain! Enough trying to cling to outdated vivisectionist BS about animals being autonmatons.


Dafuq did I just read?
 
2013-10-11 09:24:40 AM
Elephants have extra time to think about things because their penises move by themselves when they put it inside something....
 
2013-10-11 11:19:25 AM

fusillade762: This makes them the only non-human animals to understand the gesture without being trained to do so.

I have a hard time believing that pointing is a hard cue to follow.


I know, it's counterintuative because we do get it instinctively. As do dogs (because we've bred them for a few thousand years to understand us pretty well).

Chimps don't understand pointing. You can look up YouTube videos of the experiments. It's weird to watch, so obvious to us....and they're oblivious.
 
2013-10-11 11:47:22 AM

LrdPhoenix: fusillade762: This makes them the only non-human animals to understand the gesture without being trained to do so.

I have a hard time believing that pointing is a hard cue to follow.

Haven't read the article yet, but most animals just don't get it.  They just look at your hand and don't understand that it's trying to direct them to something.  I don't even think chimpanzees have an understanding of it.  There's just no symbological recognition for it, which comes out of our ability to abstract.


Dogs understand pointing better than chimps, which is pretty amazing.
 
2013-10-11 12:23:49 PM
FTFA:
"They're so unrelated to us," he told BBC News. "So if we find human-like abilities in an animal like an elephant, that hasn't shared a common ancestor with people for more than 100 million years , we can be pretty sure that it's evolved completely separately, by what's called convergent evolution."

Yeah, similar situation with the brain. Both humans and elephants have brains, therefore it must be a case of convergent evolution...both species developing the brain since the time of the split...convergently. It couldn't be that, you know, the thing developed prior to the split, and was maintained in both species since.

Stupid scientists. I swear they are the stupidest people in the world after Palestinians and teachers.
 
2013-10-11 12:30:23 PM

SevenizGud: Yeah, similar situation with the brain. Both humans and elephants have brains, therefore it must be a case of convergent evolution...both species developing the brain since the time of the split...convergently. It couldn't be that, you know, the thing developed prior to the split, and was maintained in both species since.

Stupid scientists.


You have no grounds to say people that know and understand more than you are stupid. If the thing developed prior to the split, we would expect nearly every species to have it, just like most of them have brains (you being a notable exception).
 
2013-10-11 05:35:21 PM
Duh, elephants use their trunks to gesture and point which is why they understand human pointing.

Of course this common knowledge is only anecdotal - thus the need for controlled experiments and grants to support them.
 
2013-10-11 07:33:28 PM

fusillade762: I have a hard time believing that pointing is a hard cue to follow.


If you point at something, a cat will look at your finger.  A dog will actually look where you are pointing, but (as I understand the article) this is considered a result of training.
 
2013-10-11 07:36:07 PM

ZAZ: A study a few years ago showed that one difference between wolves and dogs is, dogs understand pointing.


How much of this is genetic, and how much is a result of the dog having lived with humans for its entire life?  Would a wild dog understand pointing?
 
2013-10-12 05:50:51 AM
My family has had 4 dogs.  One, eventually, understood pointing.  The others never got it.
 
Displayed 21 of 21 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report