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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Thinking in time

Carl Zimmer has a new piece on the NY Times dealing with the ability of certain animals to remember episodes of their past, but also forecast their future needs and take steps towards this, much like we humans do. Some birds who cache food in various places are able to remember not only the location, but also the content of each one.

Others will store food for future use only if they think it's needed (that requires judgement), and they will restrict their choices depending on various factors. for example, squirrel monkeys will only eat one date instead of four, if they know that by eating four they will not get any water after.

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