Yale: A new Yale study suggests that, in a sense, mammals dream about the world they are about to experience before they are even born.
Caitlin O’Connell: The unwritten code of conduct surrounding play lets them explore many possible outcomes.
Researchers: Complex vision evolved independently in vertebrates and arthropods and so the ability to distinguish living from non-living motion using the relative positioning of the joints has most likely arisen convergently in the two groups of animals.
In the study, the wolf pups were raised so as to trust humans and the dog pups were not. Yet the wolf pups did not trust humans — but the dog pups did.
Oscillations is science writer Suzan Mazur’s blog. Mazur draws attention to the Linnean Society’s virtual conference, Evolution ‘On Purpose’: Teleonomy in Living Systems: “Living systems exhibit an internal teleology, the full implications of which have not been explored. This meeting will address various aspects of this phenomenon, including its scope and meaning, and its many forms and facets.”
But it may be a quantum mechanical phenomenon, researchers say — thus solvable, as long as we are willing to work with quantum mechanics.
People are becoming, more and more obviously outliers all the time. The pop science prediction had been “less and less.”
In Switzerland, it is now illegal to boil a lobster alive. Are the Swiss right? Is it cruel? The question bears on the concept of a self.
The brainy cephalopods behaved about the same as lab rats under similar conditions, raising both neuroscience and ethical issues.
Neuroscientist Christof Koch was troubled as a child by the Catholic tradition that dogs like his beloved Purzel did not go to heaven. Ironically, human exceptionalism, which Koch decries, holds out the possibility that some beloved animals may indeed share immortality with humans.
Thinking about Jeff Hawkins’s new book, A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence (Basic Books 2021), championing the mammalian neocortex, for example, one might ask, what does the iconic mammalian neocortex do that equivalent systems in birds and octopuses can’t do? That’s not clear. And human intelligence is something different again.
Are certain brain structures are essential for high animal intelligence or will alternative structures work?
Where do they store memories? New thinking is, changes in the state of the life form, resulting in changed behavior — which amounts to learning — need not “be someplace” or weigh something, for the same reasons as a full USB stick doesn’t weigh any more than an empty one.
When we try to escape into being animals, all that happens is that we reason badly and become bad humans. And the moment we even bring reason into the discussion — well, that’s precisely what human exceptionalism is about!
Human exceptionalism is never more obvious than when humans are offering rational-sounding arguments against it.