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Donald Griffin Strove to give Animals their Due

Gadagkar, Raghavendra (2005) Donald Griffin Strove to give Animals their Due. In: Resonance, 10 (2). pp. 3-5.


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Those of us who are fortunate to study animal behaviour cannot but marvel at the seemingly conscious and intelligent behaviours that animals sometimes display. Birds are known to adapt the behaviour they use to obtain insects from under the barks of trees, to steal cream from milk bottles covered with metal foil. Robert Hinde and others in England showed that such behaviour was ‘invented’ by a few individuals and then copied by many others. Jane Goodall has described how chimpanzees will select a small branch, remove leaves and twigs and thus fashion it into a suitable tool, carry it to a termite’s nest and then use it to retrieve termites by probing with it. Alex Kacelnik at Oxford and others have shown how crows can bend pieces of metal wire and fashion hooks with which they retrieve worms from bottles. Closer home, Milind Watve and his students have shown that bee eaters will not approach their nests if they spot intruders to whom they are visible, but will do so if they spot intruders to whom they are not visible, suggesting that bee eaters have what psychologists call a ‘theory of mind’. In our own research, we have found numerous instances of members of social wasp colonies behaving in seemingly intelligent ways. For example, groups of workers will revolt against the queen and leave together to start their own colony, a given set of workers will cooperate with some queens and not others, workers will sometimes show preferential behaviour towards one but not another dominant individual.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Resonance
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:31
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/8631

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