Monkey Shows Man How To Crush Leaves

170px-Tokyo_monkey_statue There is something fascinating about this video where a monkey seems to be teaching a human (or at least uses a human) to crush leaves. The man should watch closely. We previously saw how monkeys have a much more efficient way to peel bananas.

The monkey could be playing or using the human for the task. Either way, it is rather riveting.

There is growing evidence of various species using tools – a task once thought to distinguish humans from the rest of the animal kingdom.

91 thoughts on “Monkey Shows Man How To Crush Leaves

  1. Gene: Thanks! (Hm, looks like I was typing pretty fast there…)

    Corrections: I meant the skin does NOT solve a problem.
    Bolding was just for voluntary, and later for illusion.

    Anything a bacterial colony does, that looks like intelligence or problem solving, is just as much an illusion of intelligence and problem solving as that generated by evolution or the physics behind the formation of galaxies, solar systems, our planet and other natural phenomena.

  2. Gene: Oh well, I waited too long. Thanks for looking.

    Dredd: Okay, I will repeat.

    Dredd says: I detect a lot of religious bias in you.

    Don’t accuse me of the crime you commit. You are the one that insists upon seeing cognition, thought, intent or decisions where none exists.

    As I said before, and you acknowledged, evolution is not cognition. Evolution solves “problems” without ever comprehending any “problem” or any intent to solve one.

    It is a mistake when scientists say (as they sometimes do) that biological features or organs evolved to “solve” a problem, they did not.

    The skin does solve a problem, pupil dilation and contraction in the eye does not solve a problem, the curvature of the retina does not solve a problem, the entire eye itself does not solve a problem. The skeleton, hand, or lungs do not, either.

    The “problems” are only perceived by us, in retrospect, with our hindsight and value judgment of possible imaginary alternative outcomes. It is humans that see one arrangement works better than another, and deems a problem “solved.” But Evolution did not perceive a problem and invent a solution; what happened is an accident occurred and was automatically tested by reality and automatically retained by same; no understanding, intent, value judgment or decision was involved.

    Yet, the results of that random process, evolution, are frequently taken as evidence of actual cognition, intelligence and decision (by one or more supernatural beings).

    The same could be said for the universe; the existence of elements, compounds, stars and at least one planet that supports life. To the best of our knowledge it is the result of non-intelligent processes that self-organize and operate without any cognition or decision process whatsoever, yet many people (dare I say most people throughout human history) have fallen for the illusion that the complex and intricate universe and nature is the result of cognition, creative thought, intelligence and decision making where there has been none. The Book of Genesis is an example of this error; “let there be light” is a decision of an intelligence.

    Bacterial colonies are not cognitive. To prove they are to me, somebody will have to prove they make decisions and can make choices, that there is some evidence in their behavior of mental generalizations or models.

    Those actions do not require neurons, but they are different than just automatic responses to stimuli; and automatic responses to stimuli are all I think bacterial colonies can do.

    Like evolution, they do not “solve a problem”: The problem is perceived by a human, and humans tend to anthropomorphize: For example if they were in the situation of the bacteria and “wanted” to get to the next food source, what is the most efficient route? But bacteria don’t “want” that. They are stimulated into random movement by scarcity of nourishment, and the most successful are the ones that randomly choose the most efficient route. The fact that we see that as the solution to a problem, from our perspective, does not mean the bacterial colony ever perceived such a thing.

    A star (or large planet) is not a spherical construct because it is trying to solve a problem of minimizing the gravitational stress differentials involved in maintaining corners. It does not consider existing as a cube or cylinder before settling on the sphere. The star is not cognitively trying to solve any problem. Engineers and physicists might see sphericity or circularity as a “solution” to the problem of find a shape with the minimum surface area for a given density of matter, but that is their cognition, not the star’s.

    In my view, in order to solve a problem with cognition, one must

    A) perceive there is a “problem” in the form of an undesirable reality, which
    B) requires a perception of an alternative future reality (or multiple ones) that would be without the problem or undesirable feature,
    C) Understand some path from the current state to the future state;
    D) execute some sort of voluntary action, or series of them, intended to bring the current state into the future state, or at least put it on that imagined path; which is what we call
    E) “solving” the problem.

    There is no evidence that is happening in a bacterial colony.

    Jacobs, et al may be interpreting the actions of the colony as cognition, but I do not believe a bacterial colony is capable of perceiving a problem, or imagining a future without it, or planning voluntary acts, or even executing voluntary acts.

    I think a bacterial colony is as blind an operator as evolution itself, and any cognition or intelligence it has is just as much an illusion as believing the products of evolution or gravity are the works of an intelligent being. I think they are guilty of anthropomorphic projection, and haven’t proved anything.

    You say the bacteria in the cuttle-fish know when to light up. Do you think the bacteria have a choice? I have security lights all around my house that are tuned to light up if anything larger than a cat gets within twenty feet of my house. But they have no choice, and I do not consider that “cognition.”

    If there is no choice or intent to bring about a different future, whatever is happening (in evolution or stars or a bacterial colony) is not cognition or solving a problem. We solve problems by taking intentional and voluntary actions to bring our imagined and desired future states to pass.

    I do not believe a bacterial colony can do that, I do not think any choice is involved. Which makes it as mechanistic as a calculator or evolution itself; capable of producing the illusion of intelligent problem perception and problem solving without doing either.

  3. Dredd: [Tony’s] explanation for why was incoherent. No it wasn’t. If you cannot understand what I wrote purposely for a layman, no wonder you cannot understand anything.

    Suffice to say, there is an obvious difference between the illusion of cognition and actual cognition.

    Bron: I think Dredd is trying to imply that bacteria in colony are some sort of alien intelligence, that enough of them form a “brain” that is conscious, etc. I think he wants you to conclude that.

    He adopts the transparent “statement by question” and “confirm by deflection” narration of the “Ancient Aliens” series; one of my favorite comedy shows. For example,

    V/O Narrator: “Is it possible alien visitors to Earth taught human beings the Macarena in the ancient past? Some ancient aliens theorists believe they did.”

    Cut to crazy-hair Jon, seated in an armchair, overly excited.

    Crazy-Hair Jon: “Of course they did! There is no other explanation!”

  4. Sorry, Tony. Nothing in either filter. It looks like the comment in question was eaten by the WP Vortex of Doom ™.

  5. Gene, can you look and see if my last reply got WP blocked? That was last night.

    I’ll be writing a different reply next to Dredd/Bron in a minute…

  6. Not coincidentally, that’s your understanding of biology as well, Microbe Worshiper.

    Also, you are the current first place commenter with 50 more comments than second and more than twice as many as me. Tsk tsk tsk. Can’t even get your alleged insults factually correct. You using Grandpa’s Guide to Writing Insult Jokes again, Dredd?

  7. Gene H. 1, December 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Blah blah blah, Dredd.

    That is my understanding of your comments too.

    At least it keeps you in first comment place, a thingy you relish more than coherence.

  8. Bron 1, December 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm


    so what you are saying, I think, is that living entities can create connections that enable them to do things which might mimic consciousness?

    The paper cited does not use the word “consciousness” nor the word “conscious” in the body of the text.

    It is incidentally used in footnote 96.

    The general consensus of cognitive science is that 98% of “reasoning” is subconscious:

    Probably 98 percent of your reasoning is unconscious – what your brain is doing behind the scenes. Reason is inherently emotional. You can’t even choose a goal, much less form a plan and carry it out, without a sense that it will satisfy you, not dis­gust you. Fear and anxiety will affect your plans and your ac­tions. You act differently, and plan differently, out of hope and joy than out of fear and anxiety.

    Thought is physical. Learning requires a physical brain change: Receptors for neurotransmitters change at the synapses, which changes neural circuitry. Since thinking is the activation of such circuitry, somewhat different thinking re­quires a somewhat different brain. Brains change as you use them-even unconsciously. It’s as if your car changed as you drove it, say from a stick shift gradually to an automatic.

    (The Toxic Bridge To Everywhere, quoting “What Orwell Didn’t Know”, by Dr. George Lakoff). Ninety Eight percent is a lot of cognition, and that means with the 2% consciousness we can get a lot of good or a lot of bad done.

    One shudders to think what would happen if it was reversed.

  9. Blah blah blah, Dredd.

    I’m arguing from a firm understanding of what natural selection is and how it works, i.e. principle based reasoning. You’re the one playing ego games. My ego is not impacted by you being factually wrong one way or another. Midichlorianism isn’t my religion. I have no investment in it. I prefer science.

    Speaking of quotes though, I’m still waiting for the one where I asserted DNA was alive.

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