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Like humans and chimpanzees, cockatoos can use a set of tools to get food | The science



The cockatoo uses a sharp stick to pierce the membrane before using a scoop to fish out the cashews inside the box.
Thomas Suchanek

We don’t think twice about cutting an avocado in half, spooning it into a bowl, and then mashing it up with delicious guacamole. Such simple actions distinguish humans from most other animals. Few other species use tools, and the ability to plan ahead, think about the many tools needed to complete a task, and make sure they are on hand—to carry and use a set of tools—has been seen in only one termite catcher population. Chimpanzee of the Congo Basin.

Now research reveals a surprising new addition to the ranks of innovative tool users: the cockatoo. Wild-caught cockatoos have previously been observed using tools to extract seeds from fruit. But the scientists weren’t sure if the birds were simply choosing each tool individually to solve the immediate problem, one after the other, or if they knew ahead of time that multiple tools would be needed. new study published V Current biology shows that brainy birds can choose devices and wear them as a set of tools to get the job done. In laboratory experiments, birds carried a sharp stick and a scoop to get cashews from a special box in two steps. Practice shows that individual cockatoos invent new ways to solve problems and plan ahead.

“People are fascinated by how animals that we don’t tend to think of as having extremely complex cognitions can do incredibly complex things, and this is a stunning example of that,” says Marlene Zook, a behavioral ecologist and evolutionary biologist at the University. Minnesota, which was not included in the study.

While tool use may seem mundane, scientists actually see it as a sign of higher cognitive ability. It was long thought to be exclusively human, but in recent years the ranks of tool-using animals have expanded to include primates, crows, sea otters and more, including Cockatoo Goffina.

These endangered, charismatic parrots live high in the rainforest canopy of the Tanimbar Islands in Indonesia. A 2021 research Many of the same authors found that wild cockatoos can make and use up to three tools to extract their favorite sea mango seeds. The birds grab the fruit, then remove small branches to prepare three different tools: a knife, a wedge, and a spoon. They do this to gain access to the inside of the fruit by first removing the pulp, then opening the pit into two halves and digging out the nutritious seeds inside. “This is one of the most complex examples of tool use in nature; three different tools with different functions and very nimble,” says Antonio Osuna-Mascaro, an evolutionary biologist at the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine, who co-authored the latest study.

Only some cockatoos made and used sea mango tools, while others did not, meaning they were not genetically oriented to know the procedure. “They learn to use the tools the same way we do,” says Osuna-Mascaro. “They learn by combining objects, and eventually they find combinations and different techniques to use them functionally.”

Osuna-Mascaro and colleagues designed a clever experiment to learn more about how cockatoos think about using their tools. Inspired by termite-catching chimpanzees, who use a blunt stick to pierce termite mounds and a long flexible stick to pull out termites, the team set out to see if the birds could perform a similar task. The scientists placed the cashews in a box behind a transparent paper membrane. To get it, each bird had to use a pair of tools placed in front of the box. They first had to cut through the membrane, for which they used a pointed stick, and then fished out the cashews using a straw cut in half lengthwise to serve as a scoop.

Seven out of ten birds tested were able to successfully harvest cashews this way, and two people, Figaro and Fini, were able to figure out how to use both tools on the first try within an astonishing 35 seconds, although no bird is known to use sharp tools to gap.

The next task was to see if the birds could be flexible and change the use of tools depending on what was needed to complete the task. Cashews, as before, were packed in boxes, but only some boxes had a transparent shell, while others did not. Although both tools were placed in front of all the boxes, the birds quickly realized that they didn’t need a sharp, pointed stick for boxes without a membrane.

Finally, using the same two types of crates, the team added another layer to the experiment that is familiar to people who use tools, such as carpenters: transportation. The researchers made the boxes increasingly difficult to access, first by requiring them to climb stairs and then by having the birds fly to see if the birds could recognize the task at hand and deliver tools to each box as needed. . Although in everyday life cockatoos are rarely seen with more than one tool, during the experiment they often recognized when they needed more than one tool to get cashews. Many birds thought of tools as a set and carried both tools to the job site.

A closer look at the cockatoo might make these abilities a little less surprising – after all, birds show some intelligence. Previous research has focused on their habit of raiding trash cans, and the practice appears to be spreading. As birds watch their peers perform the difficult skill of opening trash cans, some (but not all) develop their own methods of lifting the heavy lids to gain access to tasty human trash. This may be a sign of social learning, a skill that is more common in animals such as primates and whales. The birds also dance to pop music in unique moves that are not copied by other birds or even by their human owners. Psychologists describe matching movements to music as a complex and interesting behavior because the birds picked it up out of necessity. It seems to be just for fun.

Unfortunately, their ability, intelligence, and beauty worked against Goffin’s cockatoo. Birds trapped in the wild have become a hot commodity in the illegal pet trade and have led to population declines in their natural ranges.

For Zook, the author Dancing Cockatoos and the Dead Man Test: How Behavior Evolves and Why It Matters, The amazing abilities of birds raise another intriguing question: how unique are they?

“This group has done a phenomenal amount of work with Goffin’s cockatoos, and it’s fantastic how they break down some of the components of tool use to understand what’s going on in the brains of these cockatoos,” she says. But what if other animals were given the same elaborate and intriguing opportunities to show their abilities?

“Very few animals in the world have been subjected to this kind of extensive research,” she adds. “There could be all sorts of extraordinary behaviors that we have no idea about.”

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German government in crisis over EU ban on car internal combustion engines | Germany



A clash over climate protection measures threatens to unravel Germany’s three-party ruling alliance after the Green Party accused its liberal coalition partners of risking the country’s reputation by blocking an EU-wide phase-out of internal combustion engines in cars.

“There cannot be a coalition of progress in which only one party is responsible for progress, while others try to stop it,” Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habek said at a meeting of the Green Party parliamentary faction. group in Weimar on Tuesday.

Last-minute opposition by Free Democratic Party (FDP) business supporters to EU plans to ban the sale of new combustion-engine cars from 2035, which European leaders hope to resolve at the Brussels summit on Thursday and Friday, has hurt Germany. standing in the block, Habek said. “We are losing the debate, our projects are getting too little support.”

The sudden rethinking of German liberals has sparked disappointment not only in the ranks of its coalition partners, but also in other European capitals, where there are fears that the continent’s largest economy, violating earlier agreements, will push other states to the same disorderly actions.

FDP politicians argue that the phase-out in its current form risks destroying the German manufacturing industry, which in the future could offer viable environmentally neutral fuels as an alternative to purely battery-powered electric vehicles.

“We in Germany are mastering combustion engine technology better than anyone else in the world,” FDP Transport Minister Volker Wissing said on German television Wednesday evening. “And it makes sense to keep this technology in our hands while some questions regarding climate-neutral mobility remain unanswered.”

In a proposed compromise, the European Commission reportedly proposed criteria for a new CO category.2– fuel-neutral vehicles that may remain on European roads after 2035. The Wissing Ministry of Transport has not yet officially responded to the proposal.

To the surprise of its members, the German Green Party has remained relatively low-key in the internal combustion engine debate — until this week, when Habeck’s intervention raised the temperature in Berlin’s power centers.

In a TV interview on Tuesday evening, the Minister for Economy and Climate Action also accused the FDP and its senior coalition partner, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), of deliberately leaking an early draft law banning new fossils. fuel heaters in Germany from 2025.

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In a December 2021 coalition agreement, the three parties agreed to ban the installation of new fossil-fuel heaters from 2024, with only devices powered by 65% ​​renewable energy being allowed thereafter. Since the war in Ukraine led to the collapse of gas supplies, this goal was supposed to be shifted to the beginning of 2024.

However, ever since the Habek ministry attempted to turn the policy into law, there has been a furious backlash over its cost to ordinary households, led by a massive tabloid picture.

Habek said the bill was leaked “in order to undermine the government’s credibility,” leading him to question the other parties’ willingness to reach a compromise at their scheduled meeting this Sunday.

The FDP and the Greens are struggling in the polls, with the Eco-Party currently close to the worse-than-expected 15% it won in the September 2021 federal election. Meanwhile, the Liberals hover just above the 5% threshold to enter parliament and have lost votes in a number of regional and state elections.

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The Audubon Society retains its name despite the ties of slavery that divide ornithologists



The National Audubon Society announced Wednesday that its board of directors voted to keep the organization’s name despite pressure to end its partnership with John James Audubon, a 19th-century naturalist and illustrator who enslaved people, prompting backlash from other groups. birds that have already changed their names.

The bird conservation group said its decision came after more than a year-long process that involved hundreds of its members, volunteers and donors. Despite Mr. Audubon’s history as an oppressor with racist views of blacks and indigenous people, Elizabeth Grey, executive director of the National Audubon Society, said in statements on Wednesday, the board of directors “decided that the organization went beyond the name of one person.”

She added that the Audubon name “has become a symbol of our mission and the significant accomplishments this organization has made over its long history.”

The decision to keep the name is at odds with a recent trend of social reckoning that has seen schools and streets renamed and statues removed to break associations with people with a racist past, including other bird conservation groups that have recently dropped Audubon from their names.

The National Audubon Society’s decision on Wednesday faced harsh criticism from other poultry groups across the country, including its Birds Union staff.

“Their decision to double down on honoring the white supremacist and continue to label our good work in his name is actively harming marginalized communities,” the Bird Union said in a statement Wednesday.

Union of Birds changed its name last month to disassociate himself from Mr. Audubon and urged the National Audubon Society to do the same.

“We will not elevate and glorify the man who today rejects and oppresses the members of our union,” the Bird Union said, announcing its new name. “Changing our name is a small step to demonstrate our commitment to anti-racism.”

A number of local chapters of the National Audubon Society have changed their names over the past couple of years, including those in Seattle and Chicago, as well as other groups around the country.

Lisa Alexander, executive director of Nature Forward, said her organization has made a decision October change its name from the Audubon Naturalist Society after a “deep study” of its name.

“We don’t really want to be associated with the John James Audubon story,” Ms Alexander said in an interview on Wednesday. “We felt the name change was a signal to our community that all people are welcome.”

The Board of Directors of the Seattle branch of the society unanimously adopted permission in July to drop Audubon from its name, with no timeline or ideas for a new name. Over the head websitethe name Audubon is crossed out under the word Seattle, next to an image of a green bird with a tassel in its beak.

The Seattle chapter said Tuesday it was “shocked, confused and deeply disappointed” by the national organization’s decision to keep the name.

“The name is a barrier set for historically isolated communities that are the first to and disproportionately affected by the impact of environmental disasters,” the Seattle Chapter said in a statement. “We choose differently. We choose the anti-racist path.”

A year before the name change, the Seattle chapter called on the National Audubon Society to begin an “inclusive and transparent process to remove John James Audubon” from their shared namesake.

The National Audubon Society, founded in 1905, was named after Mr. Audubon more than 50 years after his death. Mr. Audubon was famous for his wonderful illustrations of hundreds of birds. Some of them were simple but detailed, such as drawing from 1820 hermit thrush sitting on a branch. Others depict dramatic action, such as painting from 1829 an osprey clutching in its claws a weak fish flying through the air.

But, according to the National Audubon Society, in addition to his illustrations, Mr. Audubon also wrote about his opposition to the abolitionist movement.

After Britain passed the Slavery Abolition Act, which ended slavery in most of its colonies, Mr. Audubon wrote to his wife in 1834 that the British government “acted imprudently and too hastily”, according to National Audubon Society.

In a short story written by Mr. Audubon called “The Fugitive”, he talks about meeting a fugitive enslaved family in a swamp. After spending the night with them, Mr. Audubon said he took them back to the man they had fled from so they could be enslaved again. It is not clear if this story was true or fiction. McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“We must acknowledge that his work has been a catalyst for bird conservation in this country,” said Ms. Alexander. “He painted beautiful pictures of birds, and this attracted many people to the desire to protect the birds.”

“But he was also an enslaver and a known white supremacist,” she added.

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How long can you go without sleep?



We need sleep to strengthen our memory banks, maintain an even mood, flush out toxins, and balance hormones in our bodies. Without it, we will eventually turn into an agitated, delusional mess.

Take happening An 18-year-old espresso drinker who stayed awake during a school trip to Italy and was eventually hospitalized:

“At some point I tried to speak exclusively in rhyme. The next day I gave up speaking altogether. I remember telling people that circles are divine, and made it a rule to hit me on the head when I made mistakes, and eventually broke my own glasses with one blow.

Typical symptoms of sleep deprivation are less noticeable and include fatigue, lethargy, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating. Officially, a person becomes drunk after 24 hours of wakefulness, According to the CDC.

Read more: How to recover from a sleepless night

How long can you go without sleep?

By scientific standards, most wakefulness records stood on shaky ground, although Guinness acknowledged a few before announcing in 1997 that it would no longer sanction insomnia for safety reasons and because of the rare fatal disorder (fatal familial insomnia) that causes the condition.

Guinness World Record Standards

As such, Guinness dismissed the 28-year-old Los Angeles celebrity photographer’s claim in 2010 that he didn’t sleep 968 hoursor more than 40 days, with the help of a “team of monitors” to ensure that he did not doze off.

Guinness last extended the record in 1986 to stuntman Robert McDonald, who rocked in a restaurant rocking chair for 18 days and 21 hours, a more relaxed task than his previous stunts, but not an easy one. “I’m Ready to Crash” he told the reporter“because it was hard for me to stop eating.”

The 1964 recording stood up to immediate scientific scrutiny in the form of a sleep researcher driving a convertible who accompanied 17-year-old Randy Gardner, who had not slept for 11 days. But experts later claimed that he was not fully awake, as he had frequent “microsleeps” lasting several seconds.

Sleep Deprivation Research

Scientific studies examining the effects of sleep deprivation typically keep people awake only for from 24 to 72 hoursfor ethical reasons. The researchers found gradual declines in reaction time, working memory, attentiveness, math ability, and decision making.

A 2004 study who kept 21 volunteers awake for 36 hours on three separate occasions, found that some people suffered from the aforementioned effects, while others seemed to have a particular resistance to sleep deprivation and loss of mental function.

Read more: What happens when we go without sleep?

Can you die from lack of sleep?

Indirectly, yes.

In 2012, a 26-year-old Chinese man died after staying up 11 nights in a row to watch football matches of the European Championship on TV while smoking and drinking beer. Hello reportedly returned home after watching the last game with friends, took a shower, fell asleep around 5 am and never woke up again.

A local emergency room doctor later said the man “was in good health. But staying up all night and not getting enough sleep weakened his immune system, and he drank and smoked while watching. [games]causing his condition.”

familial insomnia

Sleep deprivation also plays a role in a rare genetic disorder, fatal familial insomnia (FFI), which slowly renders its victims unable to sleep for about 18 months (or longer) and eventually kills them. A prion disease such as mad cow disease, FFI causes excruciating panic attacks and paranoia, other mental symptoms including depression.

The nervous symptoms are relentless and “marked by increased heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, sweating, respiration, and stress hormones.” Sleep Foundation.

FFI victims share much in common with delirium tremens, also known as severe alcohol withdrawal, with its hallucinations, extreme anxiety and high blood pressure. But instead of lasting a few days, FFI can last for years as dementia sets in, along with speech and movement difficulties. At some point, a person may completely lose the ability to sleep and inevitably fall into a coma and die.

Norepinephrine, a stimulating neurotransmitter, rushes through the bodies of both DT and FFI sufferers, while the nocturnal peak of sleep-inducing melatonin somehow never occurs.

Read more: Why you should avoid coffee late at night

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