86 Photos - May 12, 2014
Photo: Organic life beneath the shoreless waves
Was born and nurs'd in ocean's pearly caves;
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin and feet and wing.

- Erasmus Darwin.
The Temple of Nature. 1802.

Darwins grandfather was writing about the fact that we all have a common ancestor but just look different.


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slideshow by Jurij Fedorov.

Psychology major in 2014.
Living in Denmark - from Russia. My goal in life is to help people by teaching them about human behaviour. And I plan to work in HR, leadership and education.

I think that every child should know about how we are related to the rest of our world.

I love feedback. So if you have any knowledge on this subject I would love to learn more. I am already an "expert" in psychology but can learn a lot more about animal behaviour.Photo: Humans, as all animals, think that we are the most important thing in the existence of the universe. Any intelligent life form with healthy biases would think that. And we have thousands of biases.

Earth is in the center of the universe, I am in the center of all human beings, God looks just like me, I and my race is unique, and only we have a soul. These are some of the reasonings that we make in our daily life. But are they true? Or do  we just need them to feel true to be able to survive and reproduce?

Robert Sapolsky: Are Humans Just Another Primate?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWZAL64E0DI&feature=youtu.be

Why Do We Believe in Gods?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMmvu9eMrgPhoto: A lot of different animal species have lived on earth. And many of them went extinct. The ones we have experimented on are still alive. But many animals have never been studied thoroughly and a lot of animals behavior is still unknown. During the last centuries we have found more and more similarities between animals and humans. This science is one of the most groundbreaking sciences right now and it has changed the way we think about human beings and animals. We are not as unique as we once thought we were.


Gary Larson:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yq1IMNrHP7I/TrwJ9zknFdI/AAAAAAAAAQc/NEcPgTHHkRw/s1600/evolutionism+explained.jpgPhoto: Ants are probably the most interesting animal next to humans. They live in an anthill colony which is actually a super-organism. A super-organism is an organism made out of many organisms. A worker ants cannot, as an individual, get offspring, but her genes multiply when the queen produces larvae that the worker ant shares 75% of her genes with. Therefore the single ant has a place in the reproduction, and is willing to sacrifice its life for the survival of its genes. There are approximately 1 million ants for every human on Earth.

People: a community is an artificial super-organism. But the rules are forced down upon us, for the good of all,  as we have not evolved to live in large groups. The human brain can handle 150 acquaintances - not enough for a modern society. We will therefore feel uneasy in a modern society with it's arbitrary rules.


Edward O. Wilson is the worlds leading expert on ants and has written some of the most important books on sociobiology and biodiversity.

r/K selection theory:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/nature/ant-colonies-just-collective-purpose-collective-personalities/Photo: An experiment showed that if you shorten an ants legs they will walk a shorter distance to the goal than needed. If you make their legs longer they will walk a longer distance than needed. And ants can via pheromones recognize other ants they haven't seen in months. And they can recognize if an ant is a half or full sister. Interactive teaching has been observed in ants where an experienced ant will show a younger ant the way to food. Some kinds of ants, termites, and ambrosia beetles have for a long time cultivated and tend fungi for food meaning that they have agriculture. In this ant-fungus mutualism, both species depend on each other for survival.

A nematode changes the colour of the abdomen of workers of the canopy ant to make it appear like the ripe fruits. It also changes the behaviour of the ant so that the rear part is held raised. This presumably increases the chances of the ant being eaten by birds. The droppings of birds are collected by other ants and fed to their brood, thereby helping to spread the nematode.

People: the most simple minded explanation would be that we do everything based on our vision and that we have a photographic memory. But we are actually using all of our senses combined and most of our behaviour is innate and highly automatized.Photo: You could say that ants are much more moral than us. As they sacrifice their lives for the group, and work primarily for the group's welfare and not for their individual well being. But they are only altruistic towards their own colony.

Another colony can attack and kill all the ants in a colony and take the eggs with them. These ants will work for the new colony not knowing that they are working for the enemy and not their own organism. Slave-making behavior has evolved several times independently in the ant, this is called an evolutionary convergence.

People: we are very moral. We have a very well developed theory-of-mind, ie. we are good at understanding others' thoughts and feelings. This means that we in addition to being moral through upbringing / genetics also can think and agree on an even higher morality - arbitrary, utilitaristic or individually useful. But we have no queen bearing our genes that we will sacrifice ourselves for. We will produce our own offspring and our main goal is to make our own offspring survive and reproduce - not our groups.

We use the same strategies as ants do in warfare. Hitler made sure that all the countries he conquered were supplying his army with new soldiers. It's a common strategy in war.


Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcJxRqTs5nkPhoto: Superorganisms have only evolved 15 times but they are so fit that superorganisms today are a great part of the animal kingdom. Bees do a dance when they bring back honey. The dance is longer if they have found much honey and if there is a great need for honey in the colony. The other bees will go to the place where the dance tells them to go. As a long dance will have more spectators more bees will go to the good places.

Some small organisms have to work together to survive. Some organisms have actually evolved by smaller organisms having to work together and therefore becoming a bigger organism.

People: cancer is just cells reproducing themselves. They survive and reproduce. But they cannot spread to other organisms and they are killing their host off without knowing it.Photo: Male O. taurus beetles that exceed a critical body size develop a pair of long, curved horns on their heads, while smaller males remain hornless. The alternative reproductive tactics used by males with these two morphologies. These alternative tactics selectively favour discretely different male phenotypes. Horned males aggressively defended tunnel entrances containing breeding females. Fights involved the use of horns and males with longer horns were more likely to win fights. In contrast, hornless males employed nonaggressive sneaking behaviours when faced with competitively superior males. Sneaking behaviours appeared to require high degrees of manoeuvrability inside tunnels to access and mate with females despite the presence of a guarding male. They will dig a hole down to the place where the female is. Meanwhile her mate is guarding the main entrance. Comparisons of running performances of males with identical body sizes but different horn lengths suggest that the possession of horns reduces male agility inside tunnels. Thus, horn possession confers a clear advantage to males using fighting behaviours to access females, whereas hornlessness may be favoured in males that rely primarily on sneaking behaviours.


People: We see the effect of epigenetics in humans too. During WW2 the Nazis took food from Holland and many mothers went hungry during reproduction. Their children were fatter than the average children. And their grandchildren again were fatter. It seems like the genes noticed the hunger and ignited and somehow ignited the genes in their children.Photo: An eyespot is an eye-like marking. They are found on butterflies, reptiles, felids, birds and fish.

Eyespots may be a form of mimicry in which a spot on the body of an animal resembles an eye of a different animal to deceive potential predator or prey species; to draw a predator's attention away from the most vulnerable body parts; or to appear as an inedible or even dangerous animal. In larger animals, eyespots may play a role in intraspecies communication or courtship – the most well-known example is probably the eyespots on a peacock's display feathers.

Many aggressive mimics use the promise of nourishment as a way of attracting prey. The Alligator Snapping Turtle is a well-camouflaged ambush predator. Its tongue bears a conspicuous pink extension that resembles a worm and can be wriggled around; fish that try to eat the "worm" are themselves eaten by the turtle. Similarly, some snakes employ tail luring to entice small vertebrates into striking range.

Golden Orb Weaver spider, spins a conspicuous golden colored web in well-lit areas. So as bees wont be scared by the web. Yellow is the color of many nectar bearing flowers, however, so perhaps avoiding yellow is not worth while.Photo: Does the butterfly do a good "job" at mimicking the owl? (answer as if you were a butterflies predator smaller than the owl)


We can do experiments on animals we are forbidden to do on humans. Scientist put glasses on some owls that made them see everything upside down and they removed the glasses when the owls were grown up. They could not regain their full use of their vision as their brain neurons already were programmed to an upside down vision.

People: the same thing is seen in human beings. People who have regained their vision after being blind from birth or getting blind in the first few years have not been able to perceive depth or use their vision in their daily life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recovery_from_blindnessPhoto: Side-blotched lizard. As all other organisms they can only have 2 sexes but these lizards have more genders than any other animal. 3 males and 2 females with different reproductive tactics.

Orange-throated males are dominant and filled with testosterone and protect their territory. They are adept at stealing mates from blue-throated individuals, but are vulnerable to cuckoldry by the yellow-throated female mimics.

Yellow stripe-throated males will mate with the females currently unprotected by the big male. 

Blue-throated males guard one female.

Orange-throated females lay many small eggs and are very territorial. Yellow-throated females lay fewer, larger eggs, and are more tolerant of each other. The green beard effect, among other things, makes their characteristics visible. Negative frequency-dependent selection is when a tactic is more useful if fewer similar tactics exist. 

People: lizards are not the only animal in the animal kingdom that have several tactics for reproduction. Some young males are more feminine and have little testosterone. They talk and sing about emotions and wear tight pants and use makeup. While other males don't talk about emotions, listen to tuff music and are more aggressive in their daily life. And we have different tactics in guarding or making a partner cheat with us. Our mating strategy can be guessed based on our clothes and body shape. But do we have several genders or just several reproductive tactics?Photo: Nom nom nom.

Armadillo girdled lizard. 

The species is one of the few lizards that does not lay eggs. The female may even feed her young, which is also unusual for a lizard. The armadillo girdled lizard possesses an uncommon antipredator adaptation, in which it takes its tail in its mouth and rolls into a ball when frightened. In this shape, it is protected from predators by the thick, squarish scales along its back and the spines on its tail.Photo: The red-eyed tree frog.

What we see is a colorful and beautiful frog. In actuality everything we see it something that our brain was created to see. If seeing the color blue was not selected via natural selection we would not be able to see it. As we can't see some colors on the color spectrum, can't hear some sounds and just can't perceive some things that other animals can. The real world does exist but not as we see or even feel it.Photo: Pheromones make women and females from other species synchronize ovulations. The dominant female will be imitated. Animals like pigs and hamsters have been experimentet on with pheromones. They changed their ovulation based on the male/female pheromones the scientist blew into their room. And even plants use pheromones.

People: several experiments showed that women choose a male based on their ovulation. An ovulating woman is attracted to a dominant man with high testosterone levels and looks that show these traits. These traits show good and attractive reproductive genes valuable for fertilizing the egg. But these traits are not necessarily the same as those found in a caring long term partner. When a woman is not ovulation she is more attracted to less masculine men with caring traits. Other studies show that women have more attractive curves and skin when ovulating and that they are more attractive to other men during that time. Men will also mateguade them much more when they are ovulating.Photo: Vampire bats are common in Central and South America. 

Vampire bats suck blood and share it with their close relatives and friends by gulping extra blood up. That way they can receive blood when they are in need of it. This is reciprocal altruism and a tit for tat strategy in a game theory called prisoners dilemma.

An experiment showed that bats will repay the tit with a similar tat. Some bats stomach was filled with air by the scientist. They looked like they had a lot of blood with them but they didn't give any to the pups of other bats. The other bats repaid the tit by not giving the bats pups blood when they had some themselves.

People: our cooperation and our society has evolved because tit for tat is mathematically the best option, we just have avoid and punish cheaters. There tactics will give you a win-win scenario and make you better off than people not cooperating. During WW1 many German and English trenches were friendly towards each other. As they individually were better of not shooting at each other.

Prisoners dilemma is one of the most important theories in psychology:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IotsMu1J8fAPhoto: Prairie dog communication:
- different alarm calls for different species of predators;
- different escape behaviors for different species of predators;
- transmission of semantic information, in that playbacks of alarm calls in the absence of predators lead to escape behaviors that are appropriate to the type of predator which elicited the alarm calls;
- alarm calls containing descriptive information about the general size, color, and speed of travel of the predator.Photo: Sexual selection is the selection of the traits that creates the most attractive organism - which may be impractical for survival.  The female will spend energy on bearing and caring for the offspring while the males can run of after just putting their sperm into the reproduction. The female will therefore be choosy in selecting males and will have a bigger worth than an average male. Males will therefore have to prove their worth before she will mate with them. And some males will have a higher worth reproductively than any female, because they can get more offspring. Many males won't reproduce at all. There will be an evolutionary arms race between females and males as the sexes have different tactics for reproduction. Forced copulation (sexual coercion) by males occurs in a wide range of species and may elicit behaviors such as aggression.

People: we are actually quite special. Men are the ones being selected, but female is the most attractive gender. We often need two parents and a family to care for a newborn child so women need to be selected too by the unusually demanding male. Breasts in women, for example. have no proven useful value besides looking great and to show that the woman is well nourished.Photo: We are not the only animal that has social monogamy. There are also other animals, where there is little size difference between males and females and therefore less difference between the sexes and thus more likelihood of monogamy. About 5% of the 4,000 or so mammal species on earth hang around with just one mate. Birds practice it very often. Social monogamy means that you have it as a social standard, but can choose better reproductive options. And some birds are notorious for being unfaithful.  The females will often get impregnated by a stranger while their partner is searching for food.

In the species Nicrophorus defodiens, the burying beetle, there is biparental care; however, males of the species will resume releasing pheromones after mating with the primary female in order to attract more females to increase his reproductive output. However it is in the female’s best interest if she can monopolize the male’s parental care and food providence for her offspring. Therefore the female will bite and attempt to push the male off his signaling perch and interfere with the male’s secondary mating attempts in order to impose monogamy on the male.

The national bird of USA, bald eagle, is one of the animals that mate for life. Some other animals are doves, swans, pigeons, beavers, albatrosses, condors, wolves in nuclear families, and French angelfish and many eagles.

People: In humans 1-3% have a different father from what the mother tells he family. Poor neighborhoods can have very high rates, it can be 40%, and in educated circles it is almost unheard of. Some statistics say that 25% of males and 15% females cheat on their spouse - other numbers are 10% higher or lower.Photo: Macaws have been demonstrated to comprehend the concept of "left" and "right."

They have been demonstrated to fully comprehend the concept of object permanence at a young age.

It's the national bird of Honduras:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_birds

A parakeet story:
In the 1980s, when the Echo Parakeet numbered just 12 individuals, extinction seemed certain. At this desperate time for the parakeets, a programme of intensive hands-on conservation programme set out to save them.

It worked.

The captive breeding programme was the first for the species outside Mauritius and supported reintroductions back into the wild, reversing the downward trend in their numbers. Today, there are a far healthier 500 birds in the wild.Photo: If a species is monogamous the male and female will have the same size and color and it will be difficult to tell them apart, as in the Whopper swans. If the species is polygamous with high male competition the males will "try" harder and will be more colorful while the females will evolve towards having colors that camouflage them. So it's a "fight" between sexual and a "primitive natural selection".

Blue-and-yellow Macaw typically mate for life. And males and females look alike.

An experiment with flies showed the effect of intersexual competition. Males produce toxic sperm to help them succeed in reproduction and females produce anti-toxic mechanisms. If males had an unlimited supply of females the males did evolve more toxic sperm while the females didn't evolve stronger anti-toxic mechanisms.


People: the arms race between sexes, interssexual is stronger in species without pair bonding. A pair bonding species will need both parents to stay alive and help the offspring succeed. Humans are right in the middle of this scale. We are mostly social monogamous.Photo: Birds of paradise live in areas with few predators. So instead of being selected for mainly protective factors, they have developed flashy feathers. These factors signal that they have the energy to carry them and they show that they are fit and healthy.  In the end they are selected because other females want to select them. So the attractive traits are attractive because other females find them attractive, meaning that the offspring will be attractive too.

People: men work hard and long hours to be good enough to be selected. Men work more hours, strive after higher status, look for leadership positions and work on dangerous and tedious tasks - with better salaries and therefore status as a reward. Popular men are selected because they are popular. Being a lead singer does not equal a good personality but they are still perceived as attractive.

Courting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIYkpwyKEhY&list=PLi1vJq5y75KnIQ-Zz5zC7FLctvFKoyblt&index=3Photo: Birds, like this bird of paradise, have evolved from dinosaurs. Adaptation to the environment is a prerequisite for survival. 

People: today we have a big brain. But we are not developing towards a certain form, we just adapt to the environment. In a million years our physical and physiological traits will be very different. Maybe we will develop gills or get mechanisms for living in large groups?Photo: A paradise bird dances for a female. She doesn't have colorful feathers, as she does the primary selection. In return she will feed and care for the offspring, and many resources are devoted to that. 

People: there is research on dance and on what dance is being perceived as attractive. Dancing is a way in which you can show off your health.

As sperm is less valuable than eggs and bearing the offspring in humans too, females are the ones doing the primary selection.


Photo from Planet Earth - JunglesPhoto: Resplendent Quetzal.

Guatemala's national bird, and an image of it is on the flag and coat of arms of Guatemala. As with many other species they don't like to live in captivity and they will usually kill themselves in captivity. Breading them in captivity is also very hard. And some animals are as yet impossible to breed in captivity even if we recreate their natural environment.

An example of a minimal cost signal comes from the mating behavior of a fly. When approached by a new male, a mated female extrudes her ovipositor to signal that she has already been inseminated. The male then ceases what would otherwise be a lengthy courtship display. Both parties have an interest in the cessation of unsuccessful courtship, and by use of this minimal cost signal, the female communicates sufficient information for the common interest to be recognized and for the male to move on to a more receptive potential mate. (Maynard Smith 1956).Photo: A bowerbird builds bowers. Their purpose is to attract females. It can take many years to become good at building them. So some species start off by building a bower together in a group of young males, to learn the art. Once you have built your own bower, you can maintain it during many years.

People: like bowerbirds we also create art, and use our artistic skills to attract mates. An experiment demonstrated that women during ovulation, are more attracted to men who compose complex musical pieces. Creativity is in a degree a sexually selected trait.Photo: Bowerbirds have not developed beautiful feathers, they have developed skills in building beautiful bowers.

People: what as a man doesn't have in looks, he can make up for in resources that will nourish and protect his mate and offspring. Men show off cars, clothes and houses to attract a females. Usability is not always the most important factor when millionaires buy expensive things.


David Attenborough is the greatest nature documentary maker:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsynmo_bowerbirds-the-art-of-seduction-by-david-attenborough_shortfilmsPhoto: Vogelkop Bowerbird male at his bower.

Bowerbirds also spend a lot of time and energy on destroying other birds bowers. Anything to win the mating game. And after attracting a female and copulating with her the female will build a nest and raise the young alone. Many females end up selecting the same male, and many under-performing males are left without copulations.

People: we also have a need for being creative, unique and show of our skills. While at the same time diminishing our competitors worth. Strong testosterone filled males will use aggressive tactics while careful and caring females will use hidden tactics to diminish their competitors worth. Like talking behind their back and saying that they have slept around and therefore will be likely to cheat on a partner. A factor not necessarily negative in males as a male impregnating another female is not as bad as for the partner as for a male to spend many years caring for another males child. Women are mostly jaloux if the man have feelings for the woman he is cheating with. While men are mostly jaloux if the woman is having sex with another man - while not being as jaloux about feelings. This is because women can be impregnated while men can lose the feelings for their partner and put their resources in another relationship. These factors are shown worldwide in every kind of society.Photo: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Male birds learn to sing to attract females. But some females can use their voice to communicate too. Some birds know 20.000 songs while other birds only know 1 song. A study with zebra finches showed that male can sing because of some bigger brain parts - and not due to hormon levels. Males learn their song from emulating their fathers song while making it their own. If they don't learn to sing from a very young age they will never learn the right notes and won't be able to attract females with their song.

People: Deaf African children were put in one place together, away from adults, and they invented their own sign language. Humans need other people around them to survive and will learn language automatically. If you don't learn to speak from an early age you will never learn it. As language is innate all languages have basically the same grammatical rules and are equally useful and advanced - even in ghettoes. Before babies turn 6 months they can hear every difference between sounds in any language. And after that age we lose that ability.


The Language Instinct - Steven PinkerPhoto: Bokmakierie bird calling  - South Africa.

Birds also use sounds to communicate.
With tropical birds it's not always the male that sings extremely loud to attract females. A male and a female can sing a duet together. An experiment with a speaker showed that birdcalls can function as a call to keep other male birds away from a territory. Woodpeckers can sing by pecking on dry wood. A Wilson's Snipe dives through the air, the feathers on its wings vibrating to produce a winnowing sound, hu-hu-hu...

And some birds signal to the flock that a predator is nearby. This signal will attract the predators attention and it may seem as this goes against the selfish gene theory. But it's better to have this call than not having this call as your genes are in other birds too. Our point in life is reproduction of our genes in anyway possible.

People: humans try to stand out from the crowd and be noticed by sound or other factors. I you are perceived as the best in the group or just noticed you are doing the right things to attract the attention of a possible mate. Fancy dresses, makeup, singing, leading or entertaining can be ways in which you attract positive attention. But just speaking loud and clear while undermining others will possible have the same effects.

Experiments also showed that our altruism is selfish. People will give to a not worthy cause instead of a worthy cause if other people will know that they were altruistic that way. Altruism shows that you have many resources, is a good cooperator and have a well developed empathy - all traits very attractive in a relationship and business partner.

hu-hu-hu...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dam0sDp6XigPhoto: Some bird species like the cuckoo are brood-parasites. They lay their eggs only in another bird species nest. The goldeneye lays its eggs in the nests of other females. Interspecific brood-parasites include the Old World cuckoo, cowbirds, black-headed ducks, and some New World cuckoos in the Americas, and indigobirds, whydahs, and honeyguides in Africa. And their chick will often kill the other chicks in the nest. Sometimes it is more costly to kill the parasite than to raise it. As the cuckoo might destroy the nest if it's offspring is killed. The male cuckoo may distract the female host while the female cuckoo lay its egg in the nest. There is an evolutionary arms race between being able to discover the parasite and between being better able to hide the parasite.

Hosts are also tricked into bringing offspring of another species into their own nests, as is the case with the parasitic butterfly. The butterfly larvae release chemicals that confuse the host ant into believing that the P. rebeli larvae are actually ant larvae. Thus, the ants bring back the larvae to their nests.

People: We don't cheat other couples into adopting our babies as that is nearly impossible to do. But some poor families are seen adopting their children to rich families while making their genes more fit in the process.Photo: Adelie Penguin group on iceberg, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica.

These penguins practice, as chimpanzees and other apes, prostitution - but there are a very few percent in the group who practice it. After the mating female penguins take stones from the males nest.

People: prostitution is said to be the oldest profession. And as males fight for the females they will earn more than males on prostitution, strip and modeling.Photo: An adelie penguin on its nest.

Many animals have been seen adopting other animals offspring in the wild. And some penguin species will even fight each other to get the chance to adopt a newborn. The innate need for caring can be too strong to resist.

People: we have many kidnapping cases where a woman would kidnap another woman's child. And some mothers have been seen loving their sons even if they grew up with a very weak morality or focus. The need for caring for a young is one of the strongest needs animals have as or goal in life is to reproduce our genes successfully.Photo: Tool-use is widespread among animals, but except in primates the development of this behaviour is poorly known.

The woodpecker finch Cactospiza pallida, Galápagos Islands. This species uses modified twigs or cactus spines to pry arthropods out of tree holes. All juveniles developed tool-use regardless of whether or not they had a tool-using model. Non-tool-using adult individuals did not learn this task by observing tool-using conspecifics. Tool-use behaviour depends on a very specific learning disposition that involves trial-and-error learning during a sensitive phase early in ontogeny.


GREEN HERON CATCHING FISH
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Porp5v5lLKkPhoto: Magpies, corvidae family, are one of the few animals who have passed the theory-of-mind test; recognizing itself in the mirror. Meaning that they have a theory of other individuals thought and are therefore highly intelligent. Other animals have passed this test too; Apes; common chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and gorillas. Elephants and pigs. Marine mammals; dolphins and killer whales.

But all individuals in a species wont necessarily have a TOM. About 75% of young adult chimpanzees have TOM and considerably less in young and old individuals.

People: we develop a theory-of-mind between age 3 and 4. But this centre will not be fully developed if we have autism / are not neurotypical.

Orangutan recognises himself:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Okmkn30D0NU&feature=youtu.bePhoto: Research with captive African grey parrots, perhaps most notably Irene Pepperberg's work with an individual named Alex, has demonstrated they possess the ability to associate simple human words with meanings, and to intelligently apply the abstract concepts of shape, colour, number, zero-sense, etc. According to Pepperberg and other scientists, they perform many cognitive tasks at the level of dolphins, chimpanzees, and even human toddlers. Another notable African Grey is N'kisi, which in 2004 was said to have a vocabulary of over 950 words which she used in creative ways. For example, when Jane Goodall visited N'kisi in his New York home, he greeted her with "Got a chimp?" because he had seen pictures of her with chimpanzees in Africa.

African Grey parrots were able to coordinate and collaborate with each other to an extent. They were able to solve problems such as two birds having to pull strings at the same time to obtain food. In another example, one bird stood on a perch to release a food-laden tray, while the other pulled the tray out from the test apparatus. Both would then feed. The birds were observed waiting for their partners to perform the necessary actions so their behaviour could be synchronized. The parrots appeared to express individual preferences as to which of the other test birds they would work with.Photo: Recent research has found some crow species, corvidae family,  capable of not only tool use but also tool construction and meta-tool use. They can use a stick to get another stick that is long enough to reach the food. Crows are now considered to be among the world's most intelligent animals. Even though they don't have a neocortex like we primates do they have other brain centers that can solve complicated problems. Tool use is found in at least thirty-three different families of birds.

Common ravens (Corvus corax) are one of only a few species who make their own toys.

Crows, grey parrots, cormorants and a few other birds can count to a small number. And their counting skills can be improved with human training. Crows have been noted for their ability to learn from each other. Some birds use teamwork while hunting. Predatory birds hunting in pairs have been observed using a "bait and switch" technique, whereby one bird will distract the prey while the other swoops in for the kill.

Social behavior requires individual identification, and most birds appear to be capable of recognizing mates, siblings and young. Other behaviors such as play and cooperative breeding are also considered indicators of intelligence.

When crows are caching food, they appear to be sensitive to note who is watching them hide the food. They also steal food caught by others.


Search for "crow puzzle" or something similar online. And see their high intelligence for yourself.Photo: Octopuses are highly intelligent, possibly more so than any other order of invertebrates. Maze and problem-solving experiments have shown evidence of a memory system that can store both short- and long-term memory. Two-thirds of an octopus's neurons are found in the nerve cords of its arms, which have limited functional autonomy. Octopus arms show a variety of complex reflex actions that persist even when they have no input from the brain. Some octopuses, such as the mimic octopus, will move their arms in ways that emulate the shape and movements of other sea creatures.

In laboratory experiments, octopuses can be readily trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns. Octopuses have been observed in what some have described as play: repeatedly releasing bottles or toys into a circular current in their aquariums and then catching them. Octopuses often break out of their aquariums and sometimes into others in search of food. They have even boarded fishing boats and opened holds to eat crabs. Some octopus species have been witnessed retrieving discarded coconut shells, manipulating them, and then reassembling them to use as shelter.Photo: The beautiful ceratiidae family among the anglerfish reproduce in a very special way. The male cannot find food or eat properly, so his only goal in life is to find a female. When he smells his way to a female, he will bite her and melt into her, so she gets gonads on her body. She can choose to have many pairs of gonads that way.Photo: A male is melting into the female... how romantic.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/angler 

People: we mate in a different way. But the symbolic image can in some cases be the same. A man can ignore his own needs in order to live up to his partner's requirements. Or the other way around if the man is high in status or very attractive.


This rap song has a verse about anglerfish:

"Let’s make love like angler fish 
It’s kind of complicated but it’s worth it 
You use your highly developed olfactory sense 
To swim towards me for several days 
And then you bite me 
And that releases an enzyme 
That dissolves your face and your bones and your fins 
Leaving only a pair of genitals attached 
To the side of my body 
For me to use when it’s convenient"

http://music.bababrinkman.com/track/dr-tatianaPhoto: Mantis shrimp is another animals that can see colors we can't. Even though we can differentiate better between colors. They even use fluorescent to send out signals. Some mantis shrimp species are monogamous and live together for 20 years at a time. Peacock mantis shrimp have the fastest punch observed. The punch is so fast that the water starts boiling around it. They can easily break aquarium glass. And they are an internet celebrity. 

Species such as Argiope argentata employ prominent patterns in the middle of their webs, such as zigzags. These may reflect ultraviolet light, and mimic the pattern seen in many flowers known as nectar guides. Spiders change their web day to day, which can be explained by bee's ability to remember web patterns. Bees are able to associate a certain pattern with a spatial location, meaning the spider must spin a new pattern regularly or suffer diminishing prey capture.


People: We see the world in a different way than does the mantis shrimp. We see some things that is cannot see and it sees things that we cannot see but can only observe with our technology.Photo: The blue whale is the biggest animal that have ever existed. Some whales, dolphins and many other animals have been seen with atavism. This means that whales have old genes for legs that can develop if something goes wrong. Chicken can develop teeth.

Blue whales communicate via whale song.

People: early embryos of various species display some ancestral feature, like the tail on a human fetus. These features normally disappear in later development, but it may not happen if the animal has an atavismPhoto: Cleaner fish are the allies of many other species, who allow them to eat their parasites and dead skin. Some allow the cleaner to venture inside their body to hunt these parasites. However, one species of cleaner, the Bluestreak cleaner wrasse, is the unknowing model of a mimetic species, the Sabre-toothed blenny. This wrasse is recognized by other fishes who then allow it to clean them. Its imposter not only looks like it in terms of size and coloration, but even mimics the cleaner's "dance". Having fooled its prey into letting its guard down, it then bites it, tearing off a piece of its fin before fleeing the scene. Fish grazed upon in this fashion soon learn to distinguish mimic from model, but because the similarity is close between the two they become much more cautious of the model as well, such that both are affected. Due to victims' ability to discriminate between foe and helper, the blennies have evolved close similarity, right down to the regional level.

The developmental mechanisms of many organisms were designed by natural selection to produce different phenotypes in different environments. Certain fish can change sex, for example. Blue-headed wrasse live in social groups consisting of one male and many females. If the male dies, the largest female turns into a male. The wrasse are designed to change sex in response to a social cue -- the presence or absence of a male.

People: mimicking is quite common in our species too. Mimicking  clever, successful, dominant and altruistic people can lead to a higher success rate in gaining resources.Photo: Common Bottlenose Dolphins jumping in sea, Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras.

Dolphins can establish strong social bonds; they will stay with injured or ill individuals, even helping them to breathe by bringing them to the surface if needed. This altruism does not appear to be limited to their own species. The dolphin Moko in New Zealand has been observed guiding a female Pygmy Sperm Whale together with her calf out of shallow water where they had stranded several times. They have also been seen protecting swimmers from sharks by swimming circles around the swimmers or charging the sharks to make them go away.

Dolphins communicate using a variety of clicks, whistle-like sounds and other vocalizations. Dolphins also use nonverbal communication by means of touch and posturing.

Dolphins also display culture. In May 2005, a discovery in Australia found Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins teaching their young to use tools. They cover their snouts with sponges to protect them while foraging. This knowledge is mostly transferred by mothers to daughters. Using sponges as mouth protection is a learned behavior. Another learned behavior was discovered among river dolphins in Brazil, where some male dolphins use weeds and sticks as part of a sexual display.

Super Smart Dolphin Answers Questions:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMZ7oOCXfP8&feature=youtu.bePhoto: The Flying Fish is an example of convergent evolution. And they are an example of the fact that things like wings can evolve many times in different species. And many other animals have evolved to look alike. Flying squirrels have evolved in different continents.Photo: Sea turtles hatch in huge numbers at a time. They need to hatch in huge numbers at the beach as some of them will be easy prey for predators. So the evolution of these large numbers is for the reason that most of them will never even reach the shore and only a small percentage will grow old. The same thing applies to fish and their eggs that they lay in huge numbers. Some fish even eat other fish of the same species.

People: One woman will in her lifetime not bear that many children. It's quality over quantity. But if she lives in the ghetto her offspring will have a higher chance of dieing and the average age for people in general and mothers will be lower. The r-tactic will apply and quantity and not nurturance will become more important. Some will die and some will reproduce. This is how it is in all species and all societies. But as a thinking species we have a hard time accepting this fact.Photo: Walruses live in big colonies where the males, as in many other species, fight to gain or retain access to the females. A big male can become the dominant male and gain access to all the mating in the group becoming a king of a harem. Other males will attack him and he will have to fight regularly defending his resources with his tusks. In 1 or 2 years time he will be exhausted by his highly demanding position and retire to a calm life without mating possibilities. Females will only fight violently if they have to protect their offspring.

Gorillas have the same behaviour and I will explain why and how later.Photo: This deer fight is a great example on male intrasexual competition to gain access to the females. Antlers are a weapon to fight of other competitors and that's why they were selected for in males.

A study with locusts showed that they considered their worth, after matches with other locusts. If the lost battles against a model-locusts, they would also have a greater chance of losing battles against other real locusts. They estimate their fighting ability by number of battles won, and when they win battles, they are also more likely to seek sex from females. For example talking about rank and alphaness in hyenas where females are the dominant gender and the hierarchy is linear and strict. The lower ranking male - that is the lower ranking member of the whole group - was getting really a rough treatment, the guy that manage the reserve in order to avoid the animal being killed by the group moved him to a group with other male hyena outcasts and he soon became their alpha, his behavior changed. 

Crayfish guard their territory. If two fish meet we the fight, and the loser will avoid contact with the winner, and stay away from the territory. The winner will strut and become dominant. These fights also changes the neural processes in the brain. The winner serotonin will make his neurotransmitter activate, while the loser's serotonin will make sure that his neurotransmitter will not activate. But a loser crayfish can become dominant if he wins games. And in a study of two dominant crayfish, the loser will not become less dominant. He still attacked, and was eventually killed. This suggests that animals do not like too loose status.

People: men are more aggressive and bigger than women. These mechanisms makes men better at fighting of competitors but they can be disadvantageous in other parts of life - like big antlers.Photo: Giant Tortoise / Owen The Hippopotamus
Owen, a baby hippopotamus that survived the Indian Ocean tsunami, adopted a giant male Aldabran tortoise as its “mother” in 2005. Wildlife rangers rescued the hippopotamus after he was swept into the Indian Ocean and then forced back to shore when tsunami waves hit the Kenyan coast. Separated from his mother, Owen and the tortoise have been together for at least a year at the Mombasa Haller Park in Mombasa, Kenya.

Some turtle species hatch at night and crawl towards the moon light out into the sea. Houses built near the beach will have such strong light that these turtles crawl the wrong way don't survive.

People: we have the same automatic caring mechanisms as other animals do. And we need companions in our life. What or who we care for is not always a conscious choice.

Epigenetics is the change of our genes created from the environment - and these changes are evolutionarily selected for to make us adaptable to new environments.

Like turtles our environment has changed so fast that we are killing  ourselves faster that our genes can adapt. We eat fast food and consume everything living on earth as it is our nature to eat those things.Photo: Lions kill their step cubs so they can get their own cubs with the lioness. Infanticide in animals can be practiced by both males and females. Several monkey species and gorillas use this tactic too.

2 brothers can be alpha males of a harem together. As genes not individuals reproduce and they share genes and therefore cooperate.

People: statistics show that stepparents are at a much higher risk at treating stepchildren badly than biological parents. A typical example in movies is the tropper that the rich stepfather sends the stepchild away to a boarding school.

Women in tribes are also known to kill of their children if they get a new husband. As the new husband would want to place his resources in his own offspring.

In polygamous foragers we often encounter brothers sharing wifes.Photo: Lionesses hunt together, and lions eat the meat without having to hunt themselves. When prey is abundant, cooperation is no longer beneficial enough to outweigh the disadvantages of altruism, and hunting is no longer a cooperative effort.

Ants, bees, birds, lions, and other social species show basic patterns of leadership and followership to solve coordination problems.

People: statistics from all countries and all times show that it is typically males who seek and hold leadership positions. And in our traditional societies men were hunters but women collected up to 80% of the nourishment for the group or family as seen in the Bushmen. Typically cooperation is necessary for the groups survival in environments with little or hard to get food.Photo: Ugandan lioness who, after killing an adult Kob (a species of antelope), then took its baby offspring into care.

But it will probably go hungry and not survive into adulthood.

Gazelles that see lioness nearby can hop around to show that they are fit and healthy and not worth running after. This show is costly but will dissuade the lioness from going after the gazella. Cost vs profit like in every evolutionary mechanism.

People: as with other animals we have behaviours for attacking and behaviours for caring. Both are needed for our genes survival as we need to gain and use our resources.Photo: This tiger lives in a zoo in Thailand with her adopted baby piglets. The zoo features an exhibit called “happy families” made of families of animals of mixed species. Hunting stimuli needs to be activated before they hunt the prey. If the prey does not run the predators might not be activated to run after the prey.

People: a pig embryo and a human embryo resemble each other so much that it's hard to see the difference between them. And they should be similar as we share 80%-90% of our DNA with pigs and 50% of our DNA with bananas.

What will happen if you notice some people run past you? Will your reflexes for running be activated to make you able to run better or will you go through a long thought process and then make your decision? Animals have flight or fight mechanisms and they will activate defense mechanisms by blood flow and brain activity.Photo: Wolfs have a strong pack leader leading the group. He is the alpha male and uses a lot of resources on being dominant male. Dominance and leadership is achieved by both physical and social traits. With force but mostly by cooperation in intelligent species. Wolfs live and hunt in packs so they need a strong group structure and a single way to do things.


Gary Larson:
http://cdn.stripersonline.com/f/f5/f50719e8_tumblr_ms2kzh73ak1stxqq3o1_500.jpegPhoto: We have selected wolfs for 20.000 years. And they are now capable of picking up on even small emotions from us and react on them. Their looks have also changed drastically. But they are all the same specie and can reproduce with each other.

An interesting thing with dogs is that they go back to live in packs when we cease to be their leaders. The leader has to be calm, collected and know how to guide a pack of dogs.

Russia has 2 of the most interesting dog experiments. One is the experiment where foxes were selected for liking humans/being domesticated. After some generations they very dog like in shape and behavior. And metro-dogs is a thing in Moscow. Dogs have learned to take the metro to various places. They avoid human beings and after 30 generations they look more similar to wolfs than other dogs.


People: The difference between the average dog is 2 times as big as the difference between the average human. We can clearly see that looks is not what creates a race as dogs are said to not have true races either.

Collie (can remember over a 1000 different words):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr3_mXJeP1g

Gary Larson:
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-CokM6WSFslM/TW_5-ADOwGI/AAAAAAAAALA/-Oks1VoWPXo/Diligently-studying-the-Doorknob-Principle.jpgPhoto: According to a new study elephants console one another when they are in distress. The creatures do this using a combination of sound and touch. Sometimes it even looks like they are mourning the dead. But we can never know for sure as animals can't talk to us.

Frank de Waal and one of his students revealed that elephants had TOM. So they are among the most clever animals. They could cooperate and knew that both elephants had to pull the rope otherwise they wouldn't get the food. And an elephant could even just step on the rope to instead of pulling it tricking both the researchers and the other elephant in the process.

Several other of the most intelligent animals have been seen working together in both arbitrary and natural environments.

Elephants have been observed digging holes to drink water, then ripping bark from a tree, chewing it into the shape of a ball thereby manufacturing a "plug" to fill in the hole, and covering it with sand to avoid evaporation. They would later go back to the spot to drink.Photo: These Japanese macaques and other monkeys and apes groom each other by eating lice of each other. This creates the foundation for reciprocal altruism. One grooms to show that you care about another primate, thereby creating a collaboration.

Interspecies grooming is also seen in nature. Where monkeys groom other animals.

A troop of wild macaques which regularly interact with humans have learnt to remove hairs from the human's heads, and use the hair to floss their teeth.

People: humans groom in tribes as seen in the Hadza tribe. The function is the same, to remove lice and be social. But men typically do not groom each other. Another fun fact about the Hadza is that they speak a click language that probably is very similar to a language we all spoke thousands of years ago.

Informative book about the Hadza people:
The Hadza: Hunter-Gatherers of TanzaniaPhoto: Culture change in a short time has been seen in a baboon population. Some of the baboons were eating from some trash cans. They were the most fearless baboons and they were there in the morning when the other baboons were socializing. These things correlated with aggression. They ate some contaminated meat and polio spread throughout the population. That meant that the aggressive alpha males died all at once in a very short time. For the first time in a baboon population the males were carrying their offspring on the back. And the males started socializing instead of attacking each other. They even groomed each other. A behaviour never seen before in male baboons.Photo: "What, bitch?"

People: violence in our society has steadily decresed through the years. And we are living in a more peaceful society than ever. Meaning that our modern society is more peaceful than our natural society. And compared to most other animals we are a very peaceful species.

"Brehm, when accompanying the Duke of Coburg-Gotha, aided in an attack with fire-arms on a troop of baboons in the pass of Mensa in Abyssinia. The baboons in return rolled so many stones down the mountain, some as large as a man's head, that the attackers had to beat a hasty retreat; and the pass was actually for a time closed against the caravan." - Charles Darwin


The Better Angels of Our Nature - Steven Pinker
https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violencePhoto: Rhesus macaque monkeys were used in one of the most interesting experiments in psychology. There is usually one main paradigm in a scientific field. In social sciences that worldview is the blank slate. The hypothesis implies that we are born with an empty brain and that everything is learned directly from our environment. Which means that every behaviour should be equally likely to develop. But when a baby monkey had the choice between climbing on a steel monkey, with milk in its breast, and a soft monkey. It climbed onto the soft monkey and stretched itself out to reach the milk. This and many more experiments showed that we have innate needs. Harlow also conducted experiments where the monkeys were isolated. If they grew up without their mother they would become fearful and aggressive. And total isolation would destroy their social skills and make them autistic. Touch deprivation increased stress. Common causes of disordered behavior in captive or pet animals are lack of stimulation, inappropriate stimulation, or overstimulation. 

People: the monkeys in the experiment were used as models for depressed people. But the main thing we can extract from the experiment is that animals need love and care to be fear free, healthy, social and happy.

Photo from the experiment:
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/huber195/myblog/08harlow.jpg

A new drawing on the experiment:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-02dQGbABiv8/UAoj4y03HFI/AAAAAAAAAVM/nwmGmzxVCoE/s1600/HarlowExptPt2.jpgPhoto: Given the chance to get food by pulling a chain that would also deliver an electric shock to a companion, rhesus monkeys will starve themselves for several days.

Reviewing a field experiment of macaque colonies, which showed that centralized food supplies generated hierarchical structures and “agonic” (competitive) relationships, while decentralized supply fostered egalitarian and cooperative systems, they argued that the same applied in organizations. A subsequent laboratory experiment with a human population confirmed the expectation.

Some rhesus male monkeys have a gene that makes them extremely extrovert and obnoxious. Making them uncompetitive in the mating game. But females with this gene are actually extrovert in a degree that the gene makes them better than average at reproducing. All in all this gene is good at reproducing as it has more pros than cons. Therefore this gene will be reproduced even though the males with it will suffer. Maybe the same mechanism is at work in gayness?

People: we have several experiments with moral dilemmas. The most famous one is Milgrams experiment where a scientist told the subject to deliver a big shock to a victim. As the scientist had authority and was dressed as one most people would deliver the shock even though they were told that it was dangerous. This means that there are scenarios where even regular people could be cruel. Morality has a function in survival a function useful in some instances but not others. Milgram was a Jew and his goal was to explain why many Nazi KZ guards were behaving immorally.Photo: Common marmoset monkeys will engage one another for up to 30 minutes at a time in vocal turn-taking.  They wait for about 5 seconds after one is finished calling to respond. They call marmosets that are not close friends and they even adjust their pace to the one they are "talking" to.

Marmosets also have memory for previously learned techniques, social transmission of foraging techniques to naïve group members, and persistence of these alternative techniques over time.Photo: Capuchin monkeys are known for a famous experiment Frank De Waal did with them. They were offered either a piece of cucumber or a grape, and were happy to accept both. But if they saw another monkey get a coveted grape while they received a boring cucumber, they became very angry and threw the cucumber away. 

People: we also have the emotion of envy. It's an emotion that makes us want our deserved resources. Otherwise, it would be too easy to cheat us. Egoistic behaviour would be the only strategy without anyone stopping it.Photo: Capuchin monkey in Costa Rican jungle.

Monkeys and apes can imitate our behaviour. And other animals can imitate too. 

Individuals were observed cracking nuts by placing them on a stone anvil and hitting them with another large stone.

People: we are very good at imitating from a young age. While chimpanzees will typically emulate behaviour. They copy the behaviour relevant for the goal and not all the behaviour.. This means that we can learn more and faster but will automatically learn the culture and unusefull things while we do it.Photo: Orangutans have tool use and culture too. They are certainly a great ape.

In orangutans, close human relatives, copulations by rape may account for up to half of all observed matings

Honey badgers have also been seen working together and escaping enclosures.Photo: The gorilla male is much larger than the female. It's a sexual dimorphism. The size difference in a species correlates with number of females for one alpha male. They have harems, and the females are in charge of the care of offspring. While the male gorillas will tolerate their infants once in a while.

Studies of non-human animal behavior suggest a positive association between physical size and social rank. For example, the relationship has been detected in a wide range of animals from chimpanzees, gorillas, and baboons, to African elephants, reindeer, and Red Deer, and even to varieties of birds, fish, and ants.

People: males are larger than females in our species too. There is a correlation between weight differences in the sexes and a tribes level of polygamy. But the difference is not as great as in the gorilla. So an alpha male will on average have a smaller "harem" than the gorilla. But harems of several thousand women are seen in our agricultural society which has existed for 12.000-10.000 years. Males who are good hunters and warriors have always been seen as attractive in  a tribe. And the chief is usually called the big man as the chief is usually a big man. Even today height is one of the main predictors of success and status in life - while at the same time seen as a very attractive trait by itself in males.

A male being the least caring parent is seen in the tropper that the father will read the newspaper at the dinner table while the mother cooks for the whole family.

Several tribes have a very similar way of greeting each other to gorillas. Visit a new tribe. Sit down far away from it. Wait 20 minutes for some people calmly sitting down by you. Don't look each other in the eyes. Slowly start socializing by chit-chat and pipe sharing. If you break the the no eye contact greeting in gorillas they will see it as an attack on their status and territory and will attack you for it.Photo: The gorilla and other primates are our close relatives, and they have almost the same gene pool as us. There are more similarities between us and primates than for example. us and mice that we share 75% of our genetic material with. 60% of our genes are shared with fruit flies and chickens. And we have 50% of our genes in common with a banana - which is natures measuring instrument.

Sperm competition describes a mechanism by which different males will compete to fertilize a female’s. Large testicles mean greater infidelity in a primate species. Studies of primates, including humans, support the relationship between testis size and mating system. Chimpanzees, which have a promiscuous mating system, have large testes compared to other primates. Gorillas, which have a polygynous mating system, have smaller testes than other primates. Humans, which have a socially monogamous mating system, accompanied by moderate amounts of sexual non-monogamy, have moderately sized testes.


Gorilla and human bond:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ-bJFVJ2P0Photo: Gorillas are territorial. Each gorilla family has a silverback as leader who scares away other animals by standing on their back legs and beating their chest.

People: we can be territorial. Anthropological studies have shown that we naturally share areas with our large tribe, and no one owns a particular piece of land. But we still fear people from the outside also called an outgroup. And we as a group will have a theretory. In a modern world we can even buy a house with a garden and a fence around it. Standing your ground, in any species, is necessary for not being pushed over by people wanting your resources.

Gary Larson is in one of the greatest cartoonist and wrote primarily about funny similarities between humans and other animals:
http://dogearedpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/garylarson_fence2.jpgPhoto: The bonobo is our second closest relative. Bonobos are a very special species as they are matriarchal. They are peaceful compared to common chimpanzees, everyone has sex with everyone, even with the same sex. Sex is a tool to maintain peace in the group as it calms them down. Their society is not without violence. But males cannot make strong in-groups and attack out-groups as as they don't know who their fathers or are and whom they are related to in that way. In-groups also in some animals mean that the females will have to go from group to group and the males staying with their relatives.

Although a small number of nonhuman animal groups tend to be female-led such as African elephants, spotted hyaenas, lemurs, and bonobos, males dominate females nearly universally in primate and mammal groups

People: research has shown that women are good at socializing and creating peace. While men are good at teaming up and fighting against an outgroup. So leaders could be selected by gender too if you are searching for specific traits in a leader. It would probably be best to have the "competitors" create an atmosphere where everyone are working hard but at the same time have the more "social focused people" create a healthy work environment.Photo: A bonobo consoles the loser in a fight. It calms the loser and avoids further conflict. Avoiding conflict is an useful mechanism if the group needs to work together to survive.

A bonobo female, Kuni, found a wounded bird in her enclosure at Twycross Zoo, in England. Kuni picked up the bird, and when her keeper urged her to let it go, she climbed to the highest point of the highest tree, carefully unfolded the bird’s wings and spread them wide open, one wing in each hand, before throwing it as hard as she could toward the barrier of the enclosure. When the bird fell short, Kuni climbed down and guarded it until the end of the day, when it flew to safety. Not only did Kuni care for the bird but understood and remembered that a bird is supposed to fly.

People: what do we remember from this life and what do we remember from our genetic life? What behavior is from this time and what is from our old ways?Photo: Apes are more advanced intellectually than monkeys. As chimps are the most intelligent primate after us they can do most of the things that other primates can do.

In one experiment scientist cut one finger of a chimp. They noticed that the brain centers formerly used to control the finger were now being taken over by neighbouring brain centers. Meaning that they now had a bigger part of the brain controlling other things in the body even better than before losing the finger.

People: in human beings we have noticed that blind people can use their unused visual brain center on other things as sound perception and musical abilities. Meaning that they are typically better equipped to handle tasks involving sound.

Some autistic people have been shown to be savants and they have an extremely good memory for some things as they have social brain areas free for being used on other tasks.

Nature Documentary : A Chimpanzee's Tale:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7FPw_GzZJw&feature=youtu.bePhoto: Intelligent chimp triptych. 

Chimpanzees are intelligent. They can use a specific stick to find ants. They hide this stick, and use it again on a later time. They have different sticks, for various purposes.

Chimpanzees learn tool use from their parents. And daughters learn the tool making techniques faster as the boys are restless. Females will be better tool users than males - while it is opposite in human tribes. They have culture and can even change the dynamics of the group based on who are leading it.

Several experiments also showed that babies preferred toys based on gender. The males wanted to play with cars and the females wanted to play with dolls. Wild female chimpanzees appear to treat sticks as dolls, carrying them around until they have offspring of their own. Young males engage in such behavior much less frequently.

An experiment with chimps showed that a beta male only will go after a hidden food if the alpha male has not seen it.

People: we have different things that we say makes us humans and therefore special; TOM, tool use, culture and language. And while chimps have the first 3 in a small degree they can never learn to talk as they don't have the same structures for making sounds. Meaning that we can only teach them basic communication via icons or sign language.Photo: Chimpanzee in Whipsnade Zoo.

They have warfare, where they attack other groups in a group, just to kill the males and the pregnant females. While they often kidnap the females.

Another thing that chimpanzees do is cooperate to get the power in the group. 2 weak males can work together to diminish the alpha males status and become leaders of the flock. That way they will gain access to mating opportunities and have a better chance of reproduction. To gain the leadership position they have to have the females on their side. If the females feel protected by you they will want you as the alpha male.

Chimpanzees fight for dominance. A dominant ape will strut and get bigger. Rankings can be easily determined by how many greetings the dominant ape gets. It gets up and looks down at the greeting ape, which sometimes has a gift for the dominant ape, and bends over for it while it kisses the dominant ape on the body. These things will make it appear like they have size difference even if they are the same size. Females will put their buttocks up to inspection. If the non-dominant apes do not greet in these ways, this will be seen as a challenge to the status and may result in retaliation. The dominant's ape reward is at least 50% of the mating in the group, and sometimes up to 75%, although there are up to six males in a group. A meta-analysis of 700 studies showed that medium-to high-ranking males had reproductive advantages. Especially during a females ovulation  the dominant ape will have greater access to females, and will also get a disproportionate share of the offspring in the group. And orangutans, baboons and macaques have similar dominance and mating systems. Being dominant is adaptive. But it's not the size that is the primary determinant of rank. Status is largely determined by social skills and how good they are at creating allies.

People: we share about 96-99% of our genes with chimpanzees, and they are our closest relatives. The biggest difference in genes is that they have a better smelling sense. Other than that we are pretty similar. We have the same genes and cells but a small difference makes our brain cells more numerous. So basically the only thing they need to become as clever as us is not a new brain but more of the same.

Going to war, kidnapping women, and killing the males is not uncommon for us. Some say that Scandinavians have good looks because the vikings brought home the most beautiful women from England - which as it goes is the reason that women in England are less attractive on average than women from other countries.Photo: Playing with your kids is an important step in their development. And kittens fighting each other are training for hunting behavior later in life. It's an evolved behaviour.

Chimpanzees care so much for their offspring that they have been seen jumping in the water after them drowning as a consequence.

A young male can follow a bigger male around in awe. The bigger male is admired and a lot can be learned from him.

How the offsprings came about is not morally judged by the trial-and-error natural selection. Evolution just selects the best adaptable variants. So rape in chimpanzees is good for the female if she has resisted a lot but still got raped. It is good in the sense that it is good for her task in life, reproduction. She has to have anti rape as well as anti seduction mechanisms for male chimps that are not good at using them and therefore would create offsprings that are not good at reproducing - no matter what their tactic is. It's about costs and effect - and rape does in many species have a positive effect. But not in Homo sapiens.

And alpha males are not always seen as the most attractive individuals. But they can force the females to mate with them. Females might still prefer to mate with the beta males and do so when the alpha males are away.

People: in our playful behaviours the mother and the father have different but equally important roles. The male is often playing ruff and tumble games especially with his sons. That way they will train their physical traits. Mothers are often talking with the children and teaching them communication and how to behave. Girls and boys are also typically raised in slightly different waysPhoto: We know that we carry genes from a Homo species and other species too, and it might very well be Homo erectus that we mated with. And we descended from them directly, but since we require the same resources to survive, there was probably no room for both species in the same area.  As most hunter-gatherers have been infected by viruses from us they could potentially have died from our viruses when we meet them in and outside of Africa.

How do you think they looked like?Photo: Homo erectus used rock tools 2,6 million years ago. But as our closest relatives use stick tools today the more advanced Homo erectus probably used stick tools before that time too.

The axe he is holding on the picture was probably not used as tool but as a way to attract females by showing skills and creativity in the axe making craft. Which implies that these tools worked as a sexual selection in a species without language.

Both tool use, sociality and manipulation are factors that selected our intelligence.

http://www.ted.com/talks/denis_dutton_a_darwinian_theory_of_beauty#t-792655Photo: Homo erectus are here depicted cooperating - not a far fetched picture.

We have found signs of cooperation, caring, protecting, culture and art. Which means that they would have been considered highly advanced compared to all other species except Homo sapiens.

People: you can compare skull sizes and figure out many things about animals. We can know and remember 150 people. While the number is smaller for other primates. They would therefore also live in smaller groups.Photo: Neanderthal were our very close relatives. Their genes still live on in many communities so you can say that they still have living ancestors. Many believe that we exterminated them, Homo erectus, and many other animals.


Svante Pääbo: DNA clues to our inner neanderthal:
http://www.ted.com/talks/svante_paeaebo_dna_clues_to_our_inner_neanderthalPhoto: Neanderthal reconstruction of a skull. Google is trying to "tag" the person in the picture.

99.7% of the base pairs of the modern human and Neanderthal genomes are identical.Photo: Neanderthals could do many of the things we can do. They could very likely talk and also lived in groups. But our brains are probably bigger because of more developed theory-of-mind / sociality centers. And in a match against the much stronger Neanderthals for resources, we will probably win because of our seemingly higher intelligent and better cooperation.Photo: Neocortex is our newest brain area. It is the outer part of the brain. Great minds are needed to live in groups, cooperate and thereby also do all the things that cooperation requires. Among other things, cheat detection, and to notice fairness and unfairness in the group.

Homo sapiens are only 200.000 years old - even though a transition from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens took place during thousand of years. Our brain was so useful in our social life that a bigger brain was selected for. And in an instant we got a brain so big that we had to give birth before the brain was too big and this is before we are developed enough to handle ourselves in the world by ourselves. Meaning that we require parenting from the family and group as a whole.


Homo Sapiens basics in a awesome Norwegian documentary:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HjernevaskPhoto: Bushmen are by the Western people called San people. But san means "without" as if they are missing something in their life - which is not true. The Bushmen are living the life that is natural for every human being on the planet; in small hunter-gatherer  tribes. The tribe life is basically the same throughout the world with sex roles in food gathering and work, more than enough food and a rich culture where all knowledge about how to live and survive is shared. A life in symbioses with nature where you are a part of a whole. You are such a big part of nature that you live your life by emotions and fantasy - a spiritual life.

All Homo sapiens come from Africa and we were all black some years ago. As some San tribes and Hadza are the most genetically diverse human species it shows that these foragers are our forefathers. But that doesn't necessary mean that black people are more cognitive developed than white people or the other way around. We all have more or less the same genes. But our environment will form our intelligence to be useful in solving the common problems we discover. Africans have more genetic variance between them than the rest of the world between them. As they have had more time to develop differently in different groups.


An easy read and interesting book about the Bushmen of Africa:

"The Old Way" - by E. MarshallPhoto: Bushmen - hunt

In societies without agriculture men hunt while women gather vegetables. Agriculture as a culture was created 12.000 to 10.000 years ago, which is not enough time to change our genetical structure. This revolution made resources and power something that a few people could acquire - very unlike our natural way of living. Our natural way means that you will naturally dislike that some people have a lot of power and resources while others are starving.

Men hunt in small groups or alone. The only weapon they have is a small bow and they live in peace with lions that they won't be able to defend themselves against if they become unfriendly.
They hunt with poison arrows that will kill the animal in a few days while they track it.Photo: Bushmen - food

Bushmen have a lot of food everywhere. Even though they live in tough conditions, because we have invaded all the best areas on earth, they still have limited wants, and unlimited means.

When the rest of Africa was starving the Bushmen lived a prosperous life. Some Africans joined them to be better off.

Children and old people don't work as there is no need for them to work. They just receive food. And old people are very respected as the knowledge they have is valuable for the tribes survival and for solving problems.

They have much more than they can ever use. They only hunt and gather food a few hours each day and their working week is much shorter than ours.Photo: Bushmen - women

After a few days of giving birth they take their children with them when they go gathering in big groups. If living in a society where everyone wears clothes on the upper body the women will wear clothes to cover themselves up as they will start feeling ashamed of being naked.

Like in every other tribe murder is much more common and normal than in a modern society. But Bushmen are some of the most peaceful tribe societies. And it is often the case that tough conditions will have tribes with a high degree of in-group cooperation while rich environments will have a higher violence and competition in gaining access to females.


Gary Larson:
http://scienceinseconds.com/cmsFiles/pageImages/Gary%20Larson%20-%20Anthropologists.jpgPhoto: Bushmen - tribe

Bushmen share everything and give gifts to each other to remain egalitarian. Meat is very important to remain egalitarian. Only 20% of their food is meat that the men bring home and they always share the meat, no one owns it. The hunter does not become rich but will be seen as attractive.  If someone has too many things other people will ask for them. And no one wants more than he can carry with him to a new camp every few months. So if they have more than enough they will throw it out. Which made it harder for anthropologist to bribe tribe people.

The tribes around the world are forced to be civilized and lose their old ways that we see as primitive, poor and morally wrong. Different tribes are forced to use modern equipment, religion and to live by our ways. We have killed of their animals, ruined their food supply chain and kidnapped them or hired them to work at our farms. This is a much worse life for them. And they have lost their culture and are slowly dying of due to starvation. Many have become alcoholics and unemployed as they have lost their society and way of viewing themselves. Civilization is slowly ruining their egalitarian culture and they are becoming consumers in nuclear families in more violent competition and cooperation against and with all other people and genes. Yąnomamö is an example of a civilization going into agriculture. Agriculture is another factor that increases violent competition - until the new arbitrary rules have settled in.

The Hadza value equality highly, recognizing no official leaders. Hadza women have a great amount of autonomy and participate equally in decision making with men.
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/18/world/africa/africas-ancient-hunter-gatherers-hadza/index.html?hpt=hp_inthenewsPhoto: Tribes live according to nature and not against it like we are trying so hard to do. If you want to know the true spirit of human nature you should read some of the most interesting main texts used in this slideshow (in order of greatness):

Selfish Gene/The Blind Watchmaker - Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary Psychology - David M. Buss
Limited Wants, Unlimited Means - J. Gowdy
Personality Psychology - David M. Buss
Primer - Leda Cosmides & John Tooby -->
http://www.cep.ucsb.edu/primer.html 
The Blank Slate - Steven Pinker
Planet Earth - documentary
Social Psychology - Franzoi
The Old Way - E. Marshall Thomas
The Forest People - Colin M. Turnbull
Frank de Waal books about his studies
The Foraging Spectrum: Diversity in Hunter-Gatherer Lifeways - Robert L. Kelly
... and many more...

And there a many more books, articles and documentaries about the specific animals. Wikipedia and documentaries is a good source if you just want the basic understanding.


If you have corrections to my explanations of things I will look into them right away. If you need the sources for the things I write about I recommend reading the books on my list or asking me about it.



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