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Viewings: 4699The outgoing year was marked by a number of significant discoveries in the field, which can be called an investigation. This term can hardly claim to be scientific. However, intuitively, that it is about thinking, mathematical abilities, emotions, self-awareness, and chimpanzees, parrots, crows, dolphins, and so on, and so on - in short, all cases where the nervous system is showing a remarkable ability to meet the challenges of the outside world. To make it easier to remember than in this sense was glorious 2012, need for, say, the spiritual side of the mind is to separate from its material side. Under the spiritual refers to a variety of psychology and zoopsychology, the phenomena of behavior of man and animals with no particular attachment to the neural circuits. Under the material essence of the mind, of course, mean the brain: it is obvious that the phenomena of conduct originate from it, although it is still not clear exactly how.
The brain is the subject more than extensive, but at the moment we are interested in his "comparative reasonable properties. It would be strange to deny that man has a more developed brain and generally smarter than other animals, including their immediate ancestors of apes. However, still not sure of molecular-genetic causes that lay in the basis of human intellectual breakthrough. According to some reports, the outstanding intelligence Homo sapiens, most likely, is the consequence of an incredibly long process that began in General until vertebrates. Researchers from the University of Chicago (USA) discovered that the system of molecular signals that control brain development, is already in a hemichordate animals - intermediate link between echinoderms and these chordates. The question is not about genes, and about the already formed the skeleton of signaling proteins that during embryonic development define a "map" of the future of the brain. At a hemichordate, this process does not go far, but it is obvious that evolution was trying to development of the vertebrate brain before have created themselves vertebrates.
Second discovery on the overall development of reasonableness was the work of scientists from the University of Edinburgh (UK), who explained how vertebrates managed to become smarter than other animals. It is not enough to get the brain: you want it worked better than the others. Vertebrates have been able to achieve this due to additional sets of genes responsible for the formation and work of the synapses. Without brain neuronal connections anywhere, but evolutionary experiments with them can do mind is very expensive. Vertebrate lucky: they received additional copies of these genes on which it was possible to test different mutations, without fear that bad mutation will be fatal. Favorable mutations, of course, remained and improved in the end the scheme of neural circuits.
All of this suggests that the roots of "reasonableness" go into the darkness of centuries much deeper time of the appearance of man himself and in General primates. So maybe not so surprising that bursts the intelligence manifested in animals, very far from primates removed, like parrots, Raven, bears, etc. However, it is still ahead, but for now it is necessary to say a few words about the differences between the human brain from the monkey. Here, as already mentioned, there is an old paradox: the monkeys there is no speech, no towns, no science and arts, Yes a lot of things there, unlike man, but what molecular-genetic causes lie in the basis of such differences, we do not know yet. Of course, from time to time there are reports that it has found a gene that distinguish humans from apes, but such messages eventually became too much. Perhaps, however, that researchers from the same University of Edinburgh still lucky, and they described the gene can claim the title of the "gene humanity." Scientists, recall, managed to find a sequence of DNA encoding macroregulatory RNA, which is particularly active in the areas of the brain associated with speech and the use of tools. And this microRNAs, which is especially important, there is only a person, and it appeared just when we parted with their ancestors.
And yet seem more authentic those works, which argue that the distinction of man from APE lie not in the presence of unique genes, and the complexity of the interaction between old. This viewpoint, for example, researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles (USA), who investigated the molecular interaction between genes circadian rhythm and genes associated with the ability to speak and recognize alien speech. The relationship between a person is much harder and more closely together than in monkeys, and this, perhaps, was the reason for intellectual revolution in the formation of the genus Homo. Another unusual hypothesis, by which it is difficult to pass, invited researchers from the Technological Institute of Georgia (USA). According to them, the man got your brain in exchange for... resistance to cancer. Increased the number of nerve cells in our brain exists due to the poor working program of apoptosis, cell death. As many neurons - so many combinations of neurons, many choices of neural circuits. Consequently - more mental capabilities. But the same apoptosis we need to destroy cancer cells. From this point of view, the brain, something like time stopped tumor.
But it's time to leave "material" (the brain and molecules) and go to the "spiritual", I mean to psychology and behavior. And then, if you look at the results-2012 unbiased glance, it seems like the whole year there was a war between the mind of animals and the human mind. That is between researchers, opening all new phenomenal abilities of birds and animals, and scientists that these results sought to disavow. Here, however, is to clearly discern what is at stake. Because one thing is when someone knows how to read or to perform simple arithmetic, and quite another - consciousness, personality, emotions, and other thin matter.
If you start to look for the person in animals, then, as is known, it is easy to fall into the sin of anthropomorphism. Man, be a professional researcher or an Amateur cats tend to see in your favorite animals are the elements of our own mental life, to attribute the phenomena of consciousness, which they may not even be there. In the case of the apes this methodological problem becomes particularly acute because there are too they are like us. In fact, the study of personality and consciousness in monkeys sooner or later encountered this anthropomorphists mine. But this year, an international group of researchers decided to finally resolve in this matter, the human factor, and, according to scientists, even after this person in monkeys remained. Although it is hardly possible to say that "monkey" personality completely corresponds to the human. (However, from midlife crisis monkeys, said to suffer quite queer.)
If we return to a more objective parameters like arithmetic abilities, the outgoing year has brought several surprises. First, the ability to account discovered he bears Baibolov. Researchers from the University of Auckland (New Zealand) compared bears with apes and concluded that predators believe and can evaluate the quality is no worse than primates. And despite the fact that the bears live alone - but, as is, for the development of intelligence you need a rich social life. But what is this: a pair of scientists from the University. The Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada) and the University of California at Santa Barbara (USA) managed to teach arithmetic flies! However, in this case it was about the course of arithmetics, which lasted for forty generations insects, and how it flies managed to learn to distinguish the two, and four from the" three", the researchers still hard to say.
As to birds, intellectuals, they acted in the past year just an outstanding way. First, researchers from Harvard University (USA) discovered that parrots Jaco can add numbers regardless of what these numbers mean. That is, a bird can perform an arithmetic operation with candy, crackers, and even numeric characters. However, within certain limits - if the amount does not exceed 8 and if the number of summands is no more than 6. Secondly, the same Jaco showed ingenuity three year old child, when in experiments researchers from the University of Vienna (Austria) managed by indirect signs to guess where the food is. The ability to combine audio and visual data and draw conclusions on the basis of such combination person acquires only to three years - but this is what was done parrots in the experiments of the Austrian zoologists. Finally, parrots, cockatoos was able to create and improve tools: a focus, however, as emphasized by working with them researchers from Oxford (UK) and the University of Vienna, in nature cockatoo do not do it. That is the experiment parrot decided difficult and absolutely new for itself the task, and decided very quickly.
Do not lag behind parrots their closest competitors in terms of intelligence - crows, вор?ны, crows, jays, rooks and other corvids. One sign of a developed intellect is the ability to remember and process audio signals, which are the basis of social relations. It turned out hthe crow can not only remember the people of birds and other species by their votes, but in the years to remember, friends, and who had been in tense relations. However, the success of Vranov apparently so tired of scientists from Cambridge (UK)what they spent a study intended to prove that birds, unlike people, not enough creative edge that all their cunning tricks they perform one unchanging pattern. Of course, one needs to remember that cockatoos, which for the first time in my life has made him a tool. But crows not left side: with the help of zoologists from the new Zealand Auckland University in new Caledonian crows demonstrated the scientific community and the world its ability to causal reasoning. If two words to describe the results of the experiments - birds, seeing a moving subject, I knew that someone of his moves.
(In brackets it is worth Recalling curious about the results obtained by scientists from the University of Birmingham (UK). According to their data, new Caledonian crows owe their intelligence and ability to use tools not so much brain as the anatomy of the skull and the device beak. That, however, if and reap the benefits of these birds, to a very small extent.)
An important sign of intelligence is the social life and emotion. And then the animals also strengthened its position, mainly due to the primates and dolphins. Smile gorillas, as in humans, is used to relieve social tension; among chimpanzees in flocks have their own "police", which consists of the most respected individuals; chimpanzees, bonobos handle stones so skillfully that resemble those first human tools. Their skills monkeys can learn from other individuals, watching them, and this applies both to the usual monkeys and apes orangutans. Moreover, as shown by researchers from Kyoto University (Japan), common chimpanzee can understand the actions and intentions of their comrades. It turns out that they, like people, have a model of the mental state of the other (or, as they say, "theory of mind"). And it can be called, perhaps, the most outstanding discovery in the field of "investigation", along with semihuman tools in Bonobo and parrot Jacko with wit a three year old child.
"The primates of the sea", dolphins, habitually continued to demonstrate their excellent social skills. Zoologists from Saint Andrews University(UK) found that the sound signals of dolphins has a special greeting words"exchanged between only the leaders of the groups. And researchers from Georgetown University (USA) reported that dolphins tend to join together on cultural grounds, that is, individuals who have the same skills - for example, know how to put the sponge on the nose so as not to hurt him when searching for food.
We must, however, admit that sometimes the excitement of particles of mind in animals forces scientists to forget about the criteria of scientific research. Take the story of empathy in rats, which were subjected to harsh and justified criticism from representatives of the University of Oxford. (As symmetric example, but on the other hand, you can remember the sensational study of innate moral feelings of a man, the results of which, despite the sensational, this year defeated the team of new Zealand Terskogo University.)
We have listed the most, in our opinion, the outstanding examples of the work of the outgoing year, is devoted to the development of the intellect. They all indicate one thing: sharp boundary, to which there was nothing, and that leads to the triumph of reason"in the animal world, no. The wisdom, the plasticity of the nervous system grew gradually, and as we can see, this process began much earlier appearance on the evolutionary stage of primates. It would be foolish to deny the obvious leap in the wisdom of man, but we can do a lot to understand about the human brain and about our basic mental reactions, studying animals, even such as are in this sense before no one even had no idea to explore. In addition, similar results are forced to revise the concepts of the mind, intellect, thinking that, of course, carry, say, an imprint of subjectivity.
Finally it should be noted that the increasing from year to year the reasonableness of animals clearly suggests some researchers to gloomy thoughts. Only such thoughts and you can explain, for example, the work of Gerald Crabtree of Stanford (USA), who as a result of genetic research came to the conclusion that humanity since its appearance on earth was pretty stupid.
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