Author Topic: Nova: How Smart Are Animals? – Review  (Read 2026 times)

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Offline Tameesha

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Nova: How Smart Are Animals? – Review
« on: May 27, 2012, 08:00:07 PM »
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Nova: How Smart Are Animals? – Review

This episode of Nova was very interesting. It basically compares animals to toddlers by age. They mainly covered dogs, monkeys, dolphins, octopuses, cuttlefish and a parrot.

The a main point in this show is to determine the difference between rote learning and problem solving in those species. Of course I loved the dog part. They discussed studies going on with canines including how dogs can easily understand the meaning of a pointing finger. They placed two cups on the ground one with a treat and would let the dog into the room and point to the one with a treat. The dogs of all ages and mixes understood the point meant “go there”. They showed this same experiment with monkeys who did not understand the human was trying to communicate where food was. There was also an awesome part with a border collie finding toys by name, including a toy it had never seen or heard the name of but picked it out because it knew the names of everything else (link below).

They then discussed dolphins. My favorite part of this was when they asked the dolphins to coordinate a routine they had never done together using two dolphins and the signals “ready”, “together”, “create”. And sure enough the dolphins performed together and did something they were never taught to do. They laid on their backs on the water and flipped their tails. It was amazing!

The next segment was about octopuses and cuttlefish and how they can change color, texture, and brightness to match their environments in seconds. The last segment covered Alex the Parrot and his researcher Irene Pepperberg. Alex is shown counting, reasoning, identifying shapes and colors.

I defiantly recommend watching it if you are interested in this. I watched it on NetFlix for free but you can also see it species by species on the Nova site. Some libraries may have it on DVD also.

Main page -

How smart are dogs? -
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Offline GuitarManDave

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Re: Nova: How Smart Are Animals? – Review
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2012, 12:32:21 PM »
You can watch this over the interwebs here:

The dog segment is at the beginning and well worth watching.

Offline Magesteff

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Re: Nova: How Smart Are Animals? – Review
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2012, 07:38:41 PM »
Dolphin intelligence was one of my favorite subject to write research papers on in High School. I loved it - Dolphins also seem to have a capacity to learn syntax i.e. the difference between take the blue ball to the green circle vs. take the green circle to the blue ball.

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