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02
Out 17

[Science Daily]

 

Animals that play with objects learn how to use them as tools

 

Researchers have discovered that New Caledonian crows and kea parrots can learn about the usefulness of objects by playing with them -- similar to human baby behaviour.

 

171002105204_1_900x600.jpg

Playful exploration allows animals to gather information ‒ report investigators

(Image: University of York)

 

The study, led by researchers at the Universities of York and St Andrews, demonstrated that two types of bird were able to solve tasks more successfully if they had explored the object involved in the task beforehand.

 

It has long been thought that playful exploration allows animals to gather information about their physical world, in much the same way that human infants learn about their world through play.

 

In one of the first direct tests of this hypothesis, scientists studied two bird species, the New Caledonian crow and the kea parrot, to understand how they interact with objects before, during and after a task involving that object.

 

Dr Katie Slocombe, from the University of York's Department of Psychology, said: "Both species of bird are known for exploring objects in different ways. The New Caledonian crow use objects in the wild and the kea parrot is known for often being destructive in its play back in its native New Zealand.

 

"We found that both species were better at selecting the correct tools to solve a task if they had the opportunity to explore them beforehand, suggesting that they were learning something about the properties of them as they interacted with them."

 

Date

 

October 2, 2017

 

Source

 

University of York

Summary

 

New Caledonian crows and kea parrots can learn about the usefulness of objects by playing with them -- similar to human baby behavior.

Reference

Megan L. Lambert, Martina Schiestl, Raoul Schwing, Alex H. Taylor, Gyula K. Gajdon, Katie E. Slocombe, Amanda M. Seed. Function and flexibility of object exploration in kea and New Caledonian crows. Royal Society Open Science, 2017.

 (dados sobre o artigo)

 

The team presented the birds with blocks and ropes of different colours, weights and patterns to explore and play with, before presenting a task where they had to collapse a platform with a ball and retrieve a reward from a pipe with a stick. The ball and stick where later replaced with the blocks and ropes to see whether they could choose the right tool from their earlier play session to complete the task.

 

The team suggests that applying this simple test to other species may shed more light on the different functions of play and exploration and its relation to tool use and physical problem solving.

 

Megan Lambert, PhD student at the University of York, said: "This type of 'latent learning', which occurs without any reinforcement, is thought to be particularly important for animals to be able to use objects as tools in a variety of contexts for creative problem-solving.

 

"Although the birds appeared to learn from their exploration, we found no evidence that the birds changed the way they interacted with the objects after learning they could be used as tools.

 

"This means that the birds did not appear to explicitly seek information about the objects, but rather learned about their properties incidentally through exploring them."

 

(artigo: sciencedaily.com/releases - 02.10.17)

publicado por Produções Anormais - Albufeira às 21:39

01
Mai 16

Do bearded dragons dream?

Reptiles share sleep patterns with mammals and birds.

(Max-Planck-Gesellschaft)

 

160428152134_1_900x600.jpg

 Sleeping bearded dragon

(Pogona vitticeps)

 

“Brain sleep appeared early in vertebrate evolution. Researchers describe the existence of REM and slow-wave sleep in the Australian dragon, with many common features with mammalian sleep: a phase characterized by low frequency/high amplitude average brain activity and rare and bursty neuronal firing (slow-wave sleep); another characterized by awake-like brain activity and rapid eye movements.”

 

“Behavioural sleep is ubiquitous among animals, from insects to man. In humans, sleep is also characterized by brain activity: periods of slow-wave activity are each followed by short phases of Rapid-Eye-Movement sleep (REM sleep). These electrical features of brain sleep, whose functions are not well understood, have so far been described only in mammals and birds, but not in reptiles, amphibians or fish. Yet, birds are reptiles--they are the feathered descendants of the now extinct dinosaurs. How then did brain sleep evolve? Gilles Laurent and members of his laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, describe for the first time REM and slow-wave sleep in a reptile, the Australian dragon Pogona vitticeps. This suggests that brain sleep dates back at least to the evolution of the amniotes, that is, to the beginning of the colonization of terrestrial landmass by vertebrate animals.”

 

[artigo mais desenvolvido na secção Science News/Science Daily/sciencedaily.com]

 

(texto: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft/April 28, 2016/sciencedaily.com – imagem: MPI f. Brain Research/ S. Junek/sciencedaily.com)

publicado por Produções Anormais - Albufeira às 19:58

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