Dolphins: The Humans of the Sea

#1
http://www.neatorama.com/2015/01/26/Dolphins-The-Humans-of-the-Sea/
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One day the trainer accidentally switched the two dolphins and didn’t know why they seemed so nervous about performing the stunts.
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“Is there a ball in the pool?” the dolphin is able to indicate yes or no -meaning it has understood the language, formed a mental image of the object referred to, and deduced whether the object is or is not there.
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The two dolphins broke away and began swimming around the tank together. Then in perfect choreography they leapt high into the air while simultaneously spitting water out of their mouths. Because dolphins don’t normally carry water in their mouths, the move had to be planned and synchronized before they left the water, proving that this was not a matter of two dolphins playing follow-the-leader.
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when the light came on, Doris had to wait until Buzz pressed his lever, then she could press her lever. When they had this down pat, Dr. Bastain placed a barrier between the two dolphins so they couldn’t see each other and only Doris could see the light. When the lights flashed, Doris waited for Buzz to press his lever. Buzz, not knowing the light was on, did nothing. Doris then gave off a burst of whistles and clicks, and Buzz immediately pressed the correct lever. And he pulled the correct lever every time the test was repeated.
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At Busch Gardens in Florida, scuba diving “janitors” periodically entered the dolphin tank with large underwater vacuum cleaners to pick up debris from the bottom on the pool. On one occasion, the divers were puzzled because they were unable to find any garbage. Only the observers above the tank could see that a dolphin named Zippy was going in front of the divers, just out of their sight, picking up pieces of trash and transferring them to the area behind the divers, which they had already swept.
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Dolphins enjoy playing games. They have been observed playing catch, tag, and keep-away. They’ve been known to sneak up on birds resting on the surface of the ocean and grab them by the feet, pulling them under before releasing them.
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#4
Well, they'd have that in common with humans, then.

Definitely seems like it warrants being looked into more. I don't expect we'll find any Einsteins among the dolphins, but it seems possible to me that they might be mentally similar to human adolescents.
 
#6
Humans are not the only animals to use fire. Apparently some birds have been using it too.

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/australian-raptors-may-be-playing-fire

Australian Raptors May Be Playing With Fire
January 15, 2016 | by Stephen Luntz
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Two scientific conferences have heard evidence that at least two Australian birds have learned to use fire, picking up smoldering sticks and dropping them in unburnt territory. The behavior has not been photographed, but numerous sightings have been reported, and is woven into the culture of local Indigenous communities.
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Fire propagation, however, is considered a bright line marking humans apart from animals. Except that is, by the fourteen rangers interviewed by Bob Gosford, and many Australian Aboriginal people in north-central Australia, who say birds use it too.
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The activity makes evolutionary sense, Gosford told IFLScience, because fires provide both species with a major food source. “Reptiles, frogs and insects rush out from the fire, and there are birds that wait in front, right at the foot of the fire, waiting to catch them,” Gosford said. Small fires often attract so many birds that there is insufficient fleeing prey for all, so a bird that was being beaten to its lunch might benefit from starting a new fire with less competition.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-bush-smoke-mice-insects-say-researchers.html
I think black kites and brown falcons are sufficiently intelligent to intentionally spread fires by dropping burning embers, because black kites have been seen to drop bread scraps from picnic areas into nearby waterholes to bait fish within striking range.' Dr Debus said.
http://www.raptorresearchfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2015_conference_program.pdf
2015 Raptor Research Foundation
A N N U A L C O N F E R E N C E N O V 4 – 8 , S A C R A M E N T O , C A
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GENERAL SESSION ABSTRACTS
Ornithogenic Fire: Raptors as
Propagators of Fire in the Australian
Savanna
*ROBERT A. GOSFORD (bgosford@gmail.com),
Ethnoornithology Research and Study Group, Darwin, Northern
Territory, Australia. MARK BONTA, Earth Sciences, Penn State
University, Altoona, PA, U.S.A.
Birds have long been regarded as key taxa for the study of the
impact of fire in the Australian savanna woodlands, with most
studies concentrating on the effect of fire upon bird populations
and their habitats. Fire in Australian savanna woodlands and
the rest of the Australian continent has two commonly accepted
sources, anthropogenic and lightning. Here we examine the as
yet elusive but compelling evidence that two common Australian
raptors, the Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) and the Black Kite
(Milvus migrans), are responsible for intentional fire propagation
in Australian savanna woodlands. Australian Aboriginal traditional
knowledge and management of the Australian environment,
long derided as having no scientific validity, is increasingly being
accepted as a key element in contemporary land management. Our
analysis of the anthropological, linguistic and first-person accounts
of birds as propagators of fire in the Australian landscape provides
evidence of the previously unrealized role of these raptors as
regional and local-scale manipulators of landscape. The importance
of the role of birds and fire in many traditional Aboriginal
ceremonies and legend supports this conclusion and we discuss the
significance of this knowledge to local Aboriginal people, the role
of the birds-and-fire nexus as an example of ornithogenic service
provision and the potential implications of this research for fire
management in Australian savanna woodlands and beyond.
At the beach near where I grew up, the seagulls used to drop clams from the air to break the shells on the rocks and then they would swoop down to eat the meat inside.
 
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S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#9
I've posted this before but it's an interesting argument for Panpsychism due to the playful nature of animals:

What's the Point If We Can't Have Fun?

Despite all this, those who do look into the matter are invariably forced to the conclusion that play does exist across the animal universe. And exists not just among such notoriously frivolous creatures as monkeys, dolphins, or puppies, but among such unlikely species as frogs, minnows, salamanders, fiddler crabs, and yes, even ants—which not only engage in frivolous activities as individuals, but also have been observed since the nineteenth century to arrange mock-wars, apparently just for the fun of it.

Why do animals play? Well, why shouldn’t they? The real question is: Why does the existence of action carried out for the sheer pleasure of acting, the exertion of powers for the sheer pleasure of exerting them, strike us as mysterious? What does it tell us about ourselves that we instinctively assume that it is?
 
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