Best animal memories

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 in Mind and senses

Thinking Elephant

© John Takai – Fotolia.com

 

They say elephants never forget – but they’re not the only ones!  Some animals can concentrate better than you and I, others mimic things they’ve learnt years and years before – and some can remember where they’ve buried items in their thousands.  There’s self awareness in the deepest reaches of the sea, too!

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FLIP A CARD – THE SEA LION

While many know sea lions as animals that can be taught balancing tricks, it’s only within the last few years that it’s been discovered that they have some of the strongest long-term memories in the animal kingdom.  One such creature, called Rio, was able to not only intelligently match a pair of picture cards, but also repeat the same trick ten years later – without having done the puzzle since!

 

DEEP SEA SCHOLAR – THE OCTOPUS

The octopus is regarded as something of an aquatic Einstein – as it’s an expert problem solver.  This is mainly down to its incredible use of both short and long term memories (which the majority of animals aren’t blessed with), meaning that not only do they learn life skills and show great interest in learning new ones, but they are extremely gifted at getting out of a fix – they simply think logically about the situation, applying reason and previous experience!

 

BIG GREY MATTER – THE ELEPHANT

As the saying goes, an elephant never forgets – and believe it or not, there’s actually a fair bit of truth in that!  Research suggests that adult pachyderms are able to calculate and memorise the whereabouts of up to thirty of their family members purely by the smell of their urine!  This helps them stick together, and upholds their reputation for being animals that roam in large groups – as well as being amazing memory machines.

 

FOCUSED FELINE – THE CAT

Believe it or not, your pet cat is probably far better at focusing on short-term tasks than you’ll ever be.  Tests have proven that domesticated felines can perfectly recall their last ten minutes of history, even if they’re being distracted from something else.  Comparatively it’s unlikely any other animal can match this impressive span of self-awareness – it even outlasts a human’s.

 

PHOTOGRAPHIC PRIMATE – THE CHIMPANZEE

The chimpanzee in general is one of the world’s most intelligent creatures, and is one of the human race’s closest relatives.  Its brainy reputation stems from its innate ability to recall images from memory in very little time, which has been tested via number tests and counting puzzles run via computer screens.  Such photographic memory also allows chimps to be extraordinary quick at learning the visual cues in sign language – making them one of very few animals we can directly communicate with!

 

THE FLYING LIBRARIAN – CLARK’S NUTCRACKER

The Clark’s nutcracker is a common North American bird currently being studied due to its intensely powerful memory.  It stores nuts for the winter in thousands of places, and it is apparently able to exactly recall the location of up to 30,000 different nuts!  Evolution has allowed the nutcracker to depend on its flawless recall strategy to survive the harsher months, making it a popular resource in studying human memory diseases.

 

CLEVER COUSINS – THE RHESUS MONKEY

The rhesus monkey is a primate often used in different areas of scientific research and has been studied massively over the years – mainly due to both its incredible power of recall and emotional intelligence!  Unlike many animals that have to be conditioned or have to evolve to avoid repeating their mistakes, Rhesus Monkeys are among very few creatures in the world that can learn from past experiences, and as a result are amazingly self-aware – some having even shown suicidal tendencies.

 

MOTORMOUTH OR MOTORMIND?  – THE PARROT

Domesticated parrots are often stereotyped as being repeating machines, copying the speech of their owners and repeating it later on.  There’s actually a bit more to it than that – African grey parrots in particular have shown an amazing ability to not only remember and mimic speech and noise, but also to pick up on body language and use certain phrases to convey emotions!  It’s also possible to have a conversation with a parrot – but only if it’s been around people for a considerable amount of time.

 

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