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[evolutionary-psychology] How innovative are other species?

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  • Ian Pitchford
    The Search for Animal Inventors How innovative are other species? By Susan Milius [EXCERPT] The Blue Delta guppy may look like just another pretty tail, but
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 19, 1999
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      The Search for Animal Inventors

      How innovative are other species?

      By Susan Milius

      [EXCERPT] The Blue Delta guppy may look like just another pretty tail, but some
      individual guppies are more creative in finding food than others are.
      Researchers at Oxford University uncovered this distinction during experiments
      on the drabber pet-store guppies. (Stan Shubel)
      Just how human is that prized human capacity for innovation? Does a creative
      genius really need the rumpled sweatshirt and the caffeine? Or for that matter,
      does he, she, or it need an opposable thumb to wrap around the coffee cup?

      And what about the everyday innovator, the blessed individual in the carpool
      who can always come up with a perfect shortcut? If that counts as innovation,
      are there innovators, even Edisons, among monkeys? Birds? Fish?

      Kevin N. Laland might phrase his research problem a little differently, but he
      takes such questions seriously-so seriously that he and his students at the
      University of Cambridge in England are looking for innovative capacities among
      guppies.

      Read the complete article at Science News Online:

      http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc99/6_5_99/bob2.htm


      Ian Pitchford <Ian.Pitchford@...>
      Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies
      School for Health and Related Research
      University of Sheffield, S10 2TA, UK
      http://www.human-nature.com/


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    • James Griffiths
      The Search for Animal Inventors How innovative are other species? [snip] I remember reading an article in which a Cephalapod developed an innovative
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 20, 1999
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        The Search for Animal Inventors

        How innovative are other species?

        [snip]

        I remember reading an article in which a Cephalapod developed an innovative
        anti-predator tactic. Normally when hunting they exhibit a "passing-cloud
        display" - a moving pattern of light and dark browns which moves down the
        body from the body to the outstretched tentacles. It is thought to have a
        hypnotic effect on prey, but it leaves the octopus more visible to predatory
        sea birds.

        An experiment involving the Common Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) tested the
        response of these creatures to a fake bird passed over the top of the tank.
        The cuttlefish still hunted, but curtailed their displays until the bird was
        out of view (presumably effecting the success of their hunting). However one
        of the subjects reacted differently - it ejected a cloud of ink and then
        hunted underneath it to hide itself while it hunted with the colour display.

        The problem with testing innovation is to differentiate it from
        trial-and-error learning, for which you`d need a lot of evidence -
        unavailable in this case.

        References:
        Cephalapod Behaviour by Hanlon & Messenger (Cambridge Uni. Press 1996).
        "What is this Octopus thinking?" : New Scientist 7 June 1997 by G. Hamilton.




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      • esther@servidor.unam.mx
        wrote: Original Article: http://www.egroups.com/group/evolutionary-psychology/?start=34 The Search for Animal
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 20, 1999
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          <000b01bebb1e$9a9c4c60$1bd6b0c-@default> wrote:
          Original Article: http://www.egroups.com/group/evolutionary-psychology/?start=34
          The Search for Animal Inventors

          How innovative are other species?

          > The problem with testing innovation is to differentiate it from
          > trial-and-error learning, for which you`d need a lot of evidence -
          > unavailable in this case.

          Why cannot innovation be considered as such if acquired through
          trial-and-error learning? I would say that innovation can be considered as such when it is transmitted socially to others of the same species, independently of the way the innovative individual solved the problem.

          Esther




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        • reabel@larck.net
          ... species, independently o ... try anything, but in fact is doing thought experiments that are trial and error. And perhaps a designer is using tools that
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 21, 1999
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            esther@... wrote:
            >
            > <000b01bebb1e$9a9c4c60$1bd6b0c-@default> wrote:
            > Original Article: http://www.egroups.com/group/evolutionary-psychology/?start=34
            > The Search for Animal Inventors
            >
            > How innovative are other species?
            >
            > > The problem with testing innovation is to differentiate it from
            > > trial-and-error learning, for which you`d need a lot of evidence -
            > > unavailable in this case.
            >
            > Why cannot innovation be considered as such if acquired through
            > trial-and-error learning? I would say that innovation can be considered as such when it is transmitted socially to others of the same
            species, independently o
            >
            > Esther
            >
            > I agree with you, Esther. I think all inovation is done by trial and error, actually. The designer may be just sitting there, not seeming to
            try anything, but in fact is doing thought experiments that are trial and
            error. And perhaps a designer is using tools that allows realistic
            modeling of a situation, cutting down on the trial and error with actual
            objects, a computer, mathematics, yet the modeling being done uses trial
            and error, just done very fast. And these tools were evolved by trial
            and error, and if the tools were made by trial and error, then aren't the
            things designed with the tools also heir to this legacy?
            I think it all comes down to trial and error, both the evolution of
            life and the evolution of methods to live are connected together. Living
            things are attracted or repulsed to some action, they add or subtract
            bits and pieces of what is available, move by trial and error to solve
            their problems of either getting to something or getting away from
            something. The evolution of life is a matter of the attraction and
            rejection of atoms into molecules, molecules into cells, and so on. If
            something comes together and "works", it is done over and over again,
            with both the construction of life and with the methods of living.
            Molecules replicate, anything that adds on and improves this replication
            also replicates, you are on your way to complex life, all done by trial
            and error of things that are attracted this way and repulsed that way.
            I send this message as a trial to see if anyone agrees with me, having
            people agree with me helps me live, since I am an interdependent, social
            creature. What fun!

            Arthur Noll
            >
            > ------------------------------------------------------------------------> Make the News Come to you! FREE email newsletters sent directly to
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          • David G. McDivitt
            OK, your test succeeded. I am in full agreement with everything you say. Trial and error pretty much says it all. One thing I especially like is where you
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 22, 1999
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              OK, your test succeeded. I am in full agreement with everything you say.
              Trial and error pretty much says it all. One thing I especially like is
              where you describe mental trial and error, as people envision various
              scenarios.

              I am an analyst, programmer, whatever, and have been in computers twenty
              years. I had some good dialog with Peter about OO programming. I see a
              place for it. I come from a business background with intense elements of
              both real-time and batch processing. I do not feel OOP is suited for
              that environment, and can argue effectively in that regard. However, I
              feel it is especially good for studying systems theory and evolution.
              What many people consider OO, is structured programming, whereby
              modularizations of code are considered objects. Rather than obfuscate
              the issue, I prefer to just leave it as modularization, glamorizing it
              no further. I had an argument once with an OO person who spoke against
              the "procedural" approach. I challenged him to show how he had not
              arranged his objects in a given order or procedure, and he reluctantly
              conceded.

              Peter's use of OO is different. It has no express purpose on the outset.
              When people use computers to accomplish a job, the focus is narrowed.
              Allowing modules to interact with each other with no apparent purpose,
              except to watch and observe their interaction, is unique, and really
              cannot be compared to the way most of us use computers.

              I am fascinated by the prospect OOP offers in system theory, but at this
              time I remain firmly fixed with regard to computer applications. I think
              Peter's approach will hasten the development of artificial intelligence.
              When that time comes, and AI comes online, then and only then will OOP
              have a realistic effect on production and applications.

              About the trial and error, I feel our intelligence is intuitive almost
              exclusively. Deductive reasoning serves only for (moral) justification,
              and can produce little of it's own accord. Intuition equates to "trial"
              in trial and error, and why one particular type of attempt is made
              instead of another.

              >Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 18:14:00 -0700
              >CC: reabel@...
              >
              > I agree with you, Esther. I think all inovation is done by trial and
              >error, actually. The designer may be just sitting there, not seeming to
              >try anything, but in fact is doing thought experiments that are trial and
              >error. And perhaps a designer is using tools that allows realistic
              >modeling of a situation, cutting down on the trial and error with actual
              >objects, a computer, mathematics, yet the modeling being done uses trial
              >and error, just done very fast. And these tools were evolved by trial
              >and error, and if the tools were made by trial and error, then aren't the
              >things designed with the tools also heir to this legacy?
              > I think it all comes down to trial and error, both the evolution of
              >life and the evolution of methods to live are connected together. Living
              >things are attracted or repulsed to some action, they add or subtract
              >bits and pieces of what is available, move by trial and error to solve
              >their problems of either getting to something or getting away from
              >something. The evolution of life is a matter of the attraction and
              >rejection of atoms into molecules, molecules into cells, and so on. If
              >something comes together and "works", it is done over and over again,
              >with both the construction of life and with the methods of living.
              >Molecules replicate, anything that adds on and improves this replication
              >also replicates, you are on your way to complex life, all done by trial
              >and error of things that are attracted this way and repulsed that way.
              > I send this message as a trial to see if anyone agrees with me, having
              >people agree with me helps me live, since I am an interdependent, social
              >creature. What fun!

              --
              mcdivitt@...
              mcdivitt@...
              http://cust.iamerica.net/mcdivitt/

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