Episode 1 Super Smart Animals


Episode 1

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For centuries the thought that animals could talk,

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solve problems...

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Aw, she's got it.

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..even feel emotion, was the stuff of fiction.

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But all that's changing.

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I'm Liz Bonnin, a scientist who's been travelling the world,

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meeting the planet's smartest animals.

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From skateboarding dogs,

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to chimp geniuses.

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I've discovered cutting-edge research...

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This is ridiculous.

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..that reveals animals are much more intelligent than we think.

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But how smart are they?

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Prepare to be astonished...

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Ha-ha! Amazing.

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..entertained...

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He wants to chase and tickle with you now.

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I want to chase and tickle with you too.

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Did you see that?

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..and even outwitted...

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Ha ha!

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..by some of the world's greatest animal minds.

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'Einstein. We like Einstein. Einstein likes you too!'

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Wherever you live, whether it's the frozen Antarctic...

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..the baking desert...

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..or the deepest ocean,

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life can be a huge struggle.

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How do animals deal with the problems they face?

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Some have evolved extraordinary physical solutions,

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over millions of years.

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But others use their brains.

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In the last few years, scientists have made an incredible discovery.

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An animal that can beat us in an intelligence test.

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I didn't think it was possible.

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Until I came here. Home to some of the smartest animals in the world.

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But it's not the jungle...

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..it's Japan.

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Kyoto University is home to world-beating experts

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in numbers and memory.

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And I don't mean the scientists.

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I'm talking about the chimps.

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Among them could be the world's greatest animal mind.

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A chimp child genius.

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His name is Ayumu.

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He was born at the University, where he's studied ever since.

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In this test, he's already mastered the order of numbers.

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Not bad for a chimp.

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But I've heard he's capable of much more.

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At five years of age, Ayumu had already outclassed the very

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scientists who had set him his intelligence tasks.

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And now, apparently, at 11,

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he's performing feats of memory that humans simply find impossible.

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And here's the test at which he excels.

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You've got a few seconds to commit these numbers to

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memory before they're covered up.

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The challenge is to remember where those numbers are

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and then recall them in the right order.

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Are you ready?

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It's definitely not easy,

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but just watch Ayumu.

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He's memorising those numbers in less than half a second.

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That is really impressive.

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He is fast and there is no way he is doing this by accident.

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I mean to stumble across the right answer he'd have

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one in 362,000 chance of getting it right.

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It looks absolutely effortless.

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Ayumu's skills are special.

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But in the wild, animals are also proving

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they're much more intelligent than we ever thought.

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I've come to Alaska, to find one of the biggest brains on the planet.

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Any minute now they're going to hit the surface.

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Turn your head.

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Oh!

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Humpback whales.

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Here in Alaska, just a small group of them

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use their brains to catch fish in a way seen nowhere else on Earth.

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In just a few weeks, they'll set off on a 3,000-mile trip

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to their breeding grounds.

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But to survive the journey, every one of these 30-tonne mammals

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needs to catch around a million fish.

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And catching that much food, takes brains and teamwork.

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These guys could never catch so many fish on their own.

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They've got to work together.

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And to be able to work together, you've got to use your intelligence.

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But it's not just working as a team that makes these animals so special.

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Off they go.

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One by one.

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It's what they're all making when they're down there.

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Together they dive down.

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One whale circles the prey,

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letting out a chain of bubbles from its blowhole, in a wide arc.

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Another whale swims below the fish,

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frightening the prey upwards with a feeding call.

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With this circular wall of bubbles,

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the whales have essentially made a fishing net out of thin air.

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This right here...

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..is one of the most impressive tool-using social groups

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on the planet.

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Believe it or not, the bubble net is actually a very effective tool.

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And it's only by using it that each of these humpback whales

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can catch almost half a tonne of fish every day.

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That's what happens when you put your mind to it.

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Scientists once believed that using tools set humans

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apart from other animals.

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But we're not as special as we thought.

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Chimps were first spotted using tools in the 1960s,

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but since then we've noticed animal tool-users all over the world.

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These boxer crabs pick up poisonous anemones,

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waving them to scare off attackers.

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Finches in the Galapagos use sticks to winkle grubs from rotting wood.

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And sea otters in America crack shells against stones

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on their stomachs.

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These animals are impressive but are they thinking things through,

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or is it just instinct?

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Can animals solve an unexpected problem

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they haven't had generations to perfect?

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To be able to do that, they'd need a blinding flash of inspiration...

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..a Eureka moment.

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These "Eureka" moments are incredibly important

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to the scientists who study intelligence

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because it shows that something much more complex is going on up here.

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Now, I'm here to show you an animal that, like us,

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might just be capable of these moments of true insight.

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This is Leipzig zoo in Germany.

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Scientists work closely with the apes here,

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and are setting some deceptively simple experiments,

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which prove that orang-utans can be as ingenious as humans.

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In this challenge, a tasty peanut is placed at the bottom of a tube.

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It's too far for fingers to reach,

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and the tube is bolted securely to the bars.

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They're just presented with a tube and a peanut.

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They need to use their intelligence to figure it out.

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To find out how humans approach the problem,

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we set up a similar experiment for the visitors at the zoo.

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There you go, free sweets up for grabs.

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All you've got to do is get them out of the tube.

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We placed everything needed within reach.

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But not one human,

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child or adult,

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had a Eureka moment.

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So what happened the first time this orang-utan, Dakana,

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and her baby, were given this challenge?

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In a moment of genius Dakana takes water from her drinking fountain

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and uses it, to float the peanut to within reach.

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One after another almost every orang-utan here

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was able to solve this problem by themselves.

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Result! She gets the peanut.

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Nobody's ever shown orang-utans how to do this.

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You know, if you raise the level of something using water,

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not even a solid tool, but a liquid tool, you can get your food reward.

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They figured this out by themselves.

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That's amazing.

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How do animals become so good at solving unexpected problems?

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It helps to be able to think into the future,

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and to plan ahead.

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And living in the grounds of a Hawaiian hotel

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is an animal that looks like he can.

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A night heron. The staff call him Hank.

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His home is an all-inclusive resort,

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where food is literally thrown at you.

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Hank often loses out to the larger swans.

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But when he finally grabs some food,

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he does something completely unexpected.

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He doesn't eat it.

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But instead, appears to have a plan.

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Hank takes the bread.

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He places it in the water...

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..and he waits.

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He could eat it at any time.

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But he holds out for more.

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Two fish, in a single mouthful.

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Planning ahead certainly pays off.

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And Hank has learned how valuable his bait is.

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There's no point wasting it on fish too big for him to eat.

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So, he takes it out of harm's way.

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There's increasing evidence that some animals can plan ahead,

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which makes them fantastic problem-solvers.

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But it takes time to build up the knowledge that you need,

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and a simple experiment can demonstrate how animals learn.

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Floating in this tube is a little red token.

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And the challenge is to get it out.

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Now, the tube is too narrow for your hand to fit in,

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but there are things that can help.

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Like these yellow balls, that are actually quite heavy,

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and these blue ones that are light as a feather.

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So, how will children cope with this test?

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This five year old throws everything in.

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She's been told she can use the balls and she does,

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all of them.

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But as they get older, kids experiment.

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This six-year-old tries a few of each

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before settling on the heavy ones.

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She notices that only those that sink raise the water level.

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And at seven, this child knows enough about floating

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and sinking to solve the problem in her head before she's even started.

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These kids, with know-how, never make a wrong choice.

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But it's only through trial and error,

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that we get the knowledge we need to eventually solve new problems.

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And that comes with experience .

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To find out if other animals learn in the same way, I'm going to

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give the same experiment to a completely different species.

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An animal that belongs to a group of birds so smart,

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they've even been called "feathered apes".

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This is a jay.

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A member of the crow family studied here at Cambridge University.

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Like the children, it's worked out that dropping

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stones into the water can raise the level,

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so it can reach a tasty worm.

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But what happens when it's given the same experiment as the children?

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We know that stones will raise the water level,

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and floating cork won't.

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But does the jay?

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The jay starts with a sinking stone...

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..but then uses a cork.

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What happens next is crucial.

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Has the jay learned from its mistake?

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It has.

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After using one piece of useless cork it went on to use only stones.

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The jay solves the problem in the same way children do,

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by noticing what brings the food closer through trial and error.

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Studies show that these birds perform at the same level

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as a seven-year-old child.

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Got it!

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In the wild, it's experimenting like this which gives animals

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an opportunity to learn.

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But to learn a lot, animals need something else.

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The time to experiment.

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This is Venice Beach, Los Angeles.

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And this is Tillman.

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Tillman is an animal with every basic need catered for.

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Which means he has a lot of free time on his hands.

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Mix that with his puppy-like enthusiasm,

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and you have a powerful combination for learning.

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And that has resulted in a unique talent.

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It took us 200,000 years after the dawn of humanity

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before we realised wheels might be a good idea.

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Tillman's Eureka moment came in minutes.

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Tillman may look like a trained dog doing tricks,

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but he was never taught to do this.

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There's no treats involved, it's just a passion that he has.

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The faster he goes the happier he is.

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Tillman has used his free time to master something completely alien

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to the animal world,

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in the blink of an evolutionary eye.

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He invents new moves and he does things that blow my mind

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every time I take him out practising.

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The important point here is that what's true for Tillman,

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also applies to animals in the wild.

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Those that live long lives

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and take longer to grow up have more time to learn...

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..and get smarter.

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The people that think he's not intelligent are out of their mind.

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You can't be a stupid dog and figure that out.

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Having time on your hands to experiment gives animals

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an opportunity to learn.

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But it takes one more thing to turn experiences into knowledge.

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If you can't remember what you've done, you haven't learned a thing.

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Memory is key.

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And one animal can show us how important memory is.

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Nearly half a million pigeons served in our two world wars, carrying

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vital messages, when other forms of communication proved impossible.

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-ARCHIVE:

-'In a remarkably short time the bird returns with

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'its message to the home loft.'

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From deep behind enemy lines.

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From downed aircrews needing rescue.

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'..Real wings have come to the aid of mechanical ones.'

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Braving all weathers, and enemy fire, these birds struggled home.

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A carrier pigeon by the name of GI Joe saved

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units of the 56th London Division.

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They even earned medals for their bravery.

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And for all that, to some folk, he's still just a pigeon.

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They may be just pigeons,

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but their navigating skills saved thousands of lives.

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But no-one knew exactly how they did it.

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70 years on, science is still unravelling the mystery.

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These pigeons are preparing for the biggest mental challenge of their lives.

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Four months ago, they hadn't even hatched.

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But today, they're competitors in one of Britain's most prestigious

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pigeon races.

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They're released 200 miles from home,

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from a place they've never seen.

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But the best bird brain will find its way back in just a few hours.

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Winning its owner a £20,000 prize.

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Everyone seems to have a theory on how they do it.

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Some say related to the sun.

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Some sort of magnet in their heads, summat like that, is that it, or what? We don't know.

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I don't think anybody will ever know

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and that is the beauty of the sport, really.

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I were nine-year-old when I had me first one, and I knows

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as much about them now as I did then.

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For a slightly more scientific explanation,

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we've enlisted the help of this man, Jeremy Davis.

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He raised every pigeon in the race, on behalf of the owners.

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Jeremy teamed up with scientists from Oxford University

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and began to train the newly-fledged chicks 12 weeks ago.

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And the researchers recorded

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the young pigeons' very first training flight.

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The tracker is getting a...getting the position once every second.

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It tells us exactly where the pigeons go on their entire flight home.

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It's the first time they've had to find their way home.

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But from here they can practically see where they live.

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It's a straight five miles that should take less than 10 minutes.

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So why, when they released one pigeon, did its route home

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look like this?

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It's clear it had no idea where it was going.

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It didn't fly five miles, it flew 40.

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What this proves is that navigation doesn't come naturally to pigeons.

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It's something they have to learn.

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And it's Jeremy's job to help.

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He can't fly the race for them,

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but he can give them the opportunities to learn.

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Over the next 12 weeks, he releases them further from home.

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And, like a proud father, waits for their return.

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But has all his efforts turned those hopeless new recruits

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into the navigating heroes that once saved lives?

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With just a few days to go before the big race,

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there's time for one last training flight.

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Our experts from Oxford return, to attach their GPS trackers.

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And Jeremy gives the birds a final once over.

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BEEPING

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Physically, they're perfect.

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But are they ready mentally?

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It's only when the data's downloaded that they'll know what,

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if anything, they've learnt.

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From their launch point, home is 30 miles due south.

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Jeremy's pigeons confidently head off...

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..in the wrong direction.

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But they know what they're doing.

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They fly to the nearest town.

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Follow a road and river to a roundabout.

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And over a campsite, whose rows of caravans are visible for miles.

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They've used their training flights to map the area

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and memorise it.

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And with that mental map they can follow these obvious landmarks

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all the way home.

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It's thanks to memory that these pigeons are ready for race day.

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When they're far from home, pigeons do have other tricks to help them.

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They use the sun, magnetic fields,

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and even smell.

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But in the crucial closing moments of a race, when accuracy is

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everything, memory helps a pigeon win a £20,000 prize.

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WHISTLES

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-And the winner is...

-Gribbles Glen and Cooper.

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Can you believe that!

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Memory is what's turned the learning opportunities Jeremy gave

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the pigeons into real know-how.

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We've seen how animals can use tools.

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Solve problems with a flash of inspiration.

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And plan ahead.

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We've also seen how they learn, by having the time

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and enthusiasm to try things out.

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And how a great memory can turn all that experience into know-how.

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But you do need another ingredient to make you really smart,

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something that Einstein himself said was more important

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than knowledge, and that's imagination.

0:30:090:30:12

By being creative, you can put everything that you've learnt

0:30:120:30:15

into practice.

0:30:150:30:16

Creativity is an important part of being human.

0:30:180:30:21

But no-one believed it was a skill we shared with other animals.

0:30:220:30:26

Until, we began to study dolphins.

0:30:310:30:35

Dolphins here in Honduras have been taught signals for leaps,

0:30:390:30:44

somersaults and other acrobatics.

0:30:440:30:47

OK, here we go, ready...

0:31:050:31:07

Go, go, go!

0:31:070:31:09

Yes!

0:31:090:31:10

Oh, that was a long one!

0:31:120:31:14

These animals obviously understand what they're being asked to do,

0:31:140:31:18

but how can we tell they're not just trained animals performing tricks?

0:31:180:31:23

You can train an animal to do almost anything.

0:31:240:31:27

But how do you test for something like creativity?

0:31:310:31:34

Well, there's another sign these dolphins respond to,

0:31:360:31:39

which refers to a much more complicated concept.

0:31:390:31:42

The trainers could have picked any gesture to symbolise it.

0:31:430:31:47

But they thought this was appropriate for what

0:31:490:31:52

they hoped to reveal.

0:31:520:31:54

I'm being deadly serious.

0:31:540:31:55

This is a very special sign, because it means "create",

0:31:550:31:59

and when the dolphins see it, they've got to

0:31:590:32:01

use their imagination and come up with an original behaviour.

0:32:010:32:04

OK, you guys ready?

0:32:040:32:05

This signal was a scientific breakthrough.

0:32:100:32:12

Because it allowed scientists to measure something animals

0:32:140:32:18

weren't meant to have,

0:32:180:32:19

creativity.

0:32:190:32:21

Oh, Ronnie!

0:32:220:32:25

'This is Ronnie.

0:32:250:32:27

'When he sees this sign he has to dream up his own routine.'

0:32:270:32:31

OK, here we go.

0:32:310:32:33

'It could be something he's learned or something entirely new.

0:32:370:32:41

'But crucially, he has to be creative,

0:32:410:32:43

'and come up with something different every single time.'

0:32:430:32:47

That's more like it, you're getting more creative.

0:32:480:32:52

'But dolphins can do even more.'

0:32:530:32:55

These two are part of a creative team.

0:33:000:33:03

Now slow down.

0:33:030:33:04

Head trainer Terri

0:33:050:33:06

gives the command to get creative...together.

0:33:060:33:09

Somehow, between them, they decide what they're going to do.

0:33:130:33:17

And they stay synchronised.

0:33:210:33:25

No-one knows how they do this.

0:33:250:33:27

It's something they were never trained to do.

0:33:270:33:30

WHISTLE

0:33:320:33:34

Very good.

0:33:360:33:38

In the wild, creativity is a talent that allows animals to

0:33:380:33:41

put on much more than a good show.

0:33:410:33:43

Once you've got the know-how, creativity is the extra ingredient

0:33:490:33:53

you need to become a fantastic problem-solver.

0:33:530:33:55

And floating just off the Canadian coast

0:33:590:34:02

is an animal that can show us how.

0:34:020:34:04

Here he is.

0:34:060:34:08

Steve, a crab fisherman.

0:34:080:34:09

The basics are simple.

0:34:130:34:16

Put some bait in a pot.

0:34:160:34:17

Let it sink.

0:34:170:34:20

Sit back.

0:34:200:34:21

And wait for crabs to wander in.

0:34:240:34:27

Steve knows that most crustaceans lack common sense.

0:34:350:34:38

Once inside the trap they can't get out.

0:34:400:34:44

The exit is obvious enough to us,

0:34:450:34:47

but some animals just aren't born with much in the way of brains.

0:34:470:34:52

Which explains why the sea floor here looks like a crab graveyard.

0:34:520:34:56

This cave is home to a much more creative crab fisherman than Steve.

0:35:030:35:07

The animal living here shouldn't really be a problem.

0:35:140:35:17

Its closest relatives are slugs, snails and clams.

0:35:170:35:20

It's a giant Pacific octopus.

0:35:220:35:24

An animal with one huge advantage.

0:35:270:35:30

An enormous brain.

0:35:310:35:32

In fact, two thirds of its brain cells, or neurons,

0:35:350:35:38

extend into its tentacles.

0:35:380:35:40

Plan A is to smother the prey.

0:35:510:35:54

With the metal trap in the way, it's not too successful.

0:36:030:36:05

But that huge brain helps the octopus to get creative

0:36:080:36:12

and to think up a dramatically different strategy.

0:36:120:36:15

Once inside, it's an easy meal.

0:36:320:36:36

But it could be its last.

0:36:400:36:42

Breaking in was easy.

0:36:470:36:48

But the octopus can do something crabs find impossible.

0:36:510:36:54

A sure sign that an octopus has struck.

0:37:130:37:16

A trail of empty shells...

0:37:160:37:18

..and a frustrated fisherman.

0:37:200:37:22

What can I say?

0:37:220:37:23

These creative, problem-solving skills

0:37:250:37:27

set octopus apart from all other invertebrates.

0:37:270:37:30

It's the reason they can take advantage of new opportunities,

0:37:320:37:35

and the challenges that we create for them.

0:37:350:37:38

And there's new evidence that the more challenges animals face,

0:37:390:37:44

the more intelligent they become.

0:37:440:37:46

Here in Nevada, one of America's most common birds is teaching us

0:38:000:38:05

that the harder life is, the better it is for their brains.

0:38:050:38:08

BIRDSONG

0:38:080:38:10

This is it - the mountain chickadee.

0:38:100:38:14

In the USA, you're never far from a chickadee.

0:38:200:38:23

They look the same wherever you go.

0:38:270:38:29

But when researchers studied chickadees across the States,

0:38:290:38:32

they found that different habitats

0:38:320:38:35

result in varying levels of intelligence.

0:38:350:38:38

These harsh environments can in fact produce smarter chickadees.

0:38:380:38:44

And this simple challenge can prove the point.

0:38:470:38:51

Under every one of these glass discs is a tasty grub.

0:38:520:38:56

You can see them, but you can only reach them by removing the glass.

0:38:580:39:02

Competing, two identical-looking black-capped chickadees.

0:39:030:39:08

They were raised together in captivity,

0:39:080:39:11

but their families came from very different places.

0:39:110:39:14

On the left, a contender from Kansas, the lap of chickadee luxury.

0:39:160:39:21

A pleasant climate with plenty of food.

0:39:210:39:24

On the right, a bird from the north.

0:39:250:39:27

Battered by blizzards,

0:39:300:39:32

his family suffered for generations in icy Alaska.

0:39:320:39:35

The clock is ticking.

0:39:390:39:40

Who will get the highest score?

0:39:400:39:43

No contest. The southern softy doesn't even know where to start.

0:39:510:39:55

But to the bird whose family faced the harsh environment of Alaska,

0:39:580:40:03

working out how to remove a piece of glass presents no problem at all.

0:40:030:40:08

It's a simple task completely beyond the southern bird.

0:40:080:40:12

The birds have inherited these skills from their families.

0:40:140:40:18

It's in their DNA.

0:40:180:40:19

And chickadee brains are bigger and better because of

0:40:190:40:22

the challenging environments they live in.

0:40:220:40:24

This opens up an intriguing possibility.

0:40:270:40:31

If your environment can make you smarter,

0:40:310:40:34

animals may have the potential for even greater intelligence,

0:40:340:40:38

given the right circumstances.

0:40:380:40:40

We educate our children. What would we discover if we educated animals?

0:40:400:40:46

"MASTERMIND" THEME MUSIC

0:40:490:40:51

APPLAUSE

0:40:540:40:55

And our next contender, please.

0:40:550:40:58

Goldie, the goldfish, you have one minute on animal intelligence, starting...now.

0:41:040:41:09

Which animal has the largest brain of any animal, living or extinct?

0:41:090:41:12

Sperm whale, correct.

0:41:150:41:16

Which of these flags represents the country of Ivan Pavlov, whose

0:41:160:41:20

research into the gastric function of dogs

0:41:200:41:22

led him to develop the concept of the conditioned reflex?

0:41:220:41:25

Yes, that is the modern Russian flag.

0:41:270:41:30

Observations made by Charles Darwin onboard HMS Beagle helped formulate...

0:41:300:41:34

BUZZER

0:41:340:41:35

I've started so I'll finish. Darwin's place onboard was questioned by the captain,

0:41:350:41:39

who was troubled by which part of Darwin's body?

0:41:390:41:43

Any ideas?

0:41:430:41:44

Correct, it was Darwin's nose, the shape of which

0:41:460:41:49

he believed indicated "a lack of energy and determination".

0:41:490:41:53

APPLAUSE

0:41:530:41:54

So is Goldie really a mastermind?

0:41:570:41:59

Well, no.

0:41:590:42:00

We taught him to follow the food in this feeding wand.

0:42:000:42:04

There you go. But teaching him

0:42:070:42:09

has revealed something more about his mind.

0:42:090:42:12

People think goldfish have only got a three-second memory,

0:42:120:42:15

but even learning this simple association proves that it's

0:42:150:42:18

got to be longer than that.

0:42:180:42:21

So what else can we learn about animals in this way?

0:42:210:42:23

You can train them to do just about anything,

0:42:230:42:26

but can it reveal more about their intelligence?

0:42:260:42:29

What hidden abilities could we uncover if we educated animals?

0:42:340:42:38

We've seen how they use their brains to solve problems in the wild,

0:42:420:42:47

but are they capable of more?

0:42:470:42:49

Here in Santa Cruz, California, one animal is surprising scientists

0:42:500:42:54

by mastering skills you'd expect to find only in human children.

0:42:540:42:58

You see who's here?

0:43:000:43:02

This is Ronan - a sea lion pup who's about to play a game.

0:43:020:43:06

She'll be shown two pictures.

0:43:080:43:10

Choosing the correct one wins her a fish.

0:43:100:43:13

But at this stage, she doesn't know the rules.

0:43:130:43:16

OK, here we go.

0:43:170:43:18

She's gone for the truck.

0:43:190:43:22

'Right first time, but what's the rule?

0:43:220:43:24

'Go for the truck, or the picture that's always on the left?'

0:43:240:43:28

This is where it gets interesting.

0:43:280:43:30

'She needs to use trial and error

0:43:300:43:32

'and memory to work out a winning strategy.'

0:43:320:43:34

Ronan's not happy.

0:43:340:43:37

How are you supposed to know the rules of the game if nobody tells you the rules to start with?

0:43:370:43:41

This is what Ronan's battling with here.

0:43:410:43:44

She has to figure out the rules by herself.

0:43:440:43:46

I think it was supposed to be stick with the truck.

0:43:460:43:49

You can do it Ronan, come on.

0:43:490:43:51

OK, OK.

0:43:540:43:56

Yes, good girl!

0:44:010:44:03

Come on.

0:44:060:44:08

Oh, she's go it. She's got it.

0:44:090:44:11

'Ronan's using her intelligence to solve child-like puzzles

0:44:140:44:17

'she'd never encounter in the wild.'

0:44:170:44:20

And another sea lion here is using the same skills to master

0:44:230:44:27

something far more advanced.

0:44:270:44:29

Basic numbers and the entire alphabet.

0:44:290:44:32

This is Rio.

0:44:350:44:37

She's been surprising scientists for 17 years.

0:44:370:44:40

Rio!

0:44:400:44:42

And a simple game can put her knowledge to the test.

0:44:440:44:48

This is her task.

0:44:510:44:53

A central door slides up, revealing a symbol.

0:44:540:44:58

Rio has to decide whether it's a number or a letter.

0:45:010:45:04

Seconds later, two new symbols are revealed.

0:45:090:45:12

Which one matches the centre one?

0:45:120:45:15

Rio has to run through every symbol

0:45:180:45:20

she's learned through trial and error,

0:45:200:45:23

to find a mental match.

0:45:230:45:25

Can she do it?

0:45:270:45:28

Of course she can.

0:45:330:45:34

This looks easy to us, but remember, Rio is a sea lion.

0:45:400:45:44

This is much more advanced than Ronan's task,

0:45:480:45:51

because the right answer isn't a particular symbol,

0:45:510:45:55

it could be any one of 26 letters or 10 numbers.

0:45:550:45:58

What I found most fascinating about all of this is how much Rio

0:46:070:46:10

had to learn to even get to this stage.

0:46:100:46:12

She had to learn all these arbitrary symbols, which belonged in certain groups.

0:46:120:46:17

Letters together, numbers together, things that we take for granted.

0:46:170:46:21

She has to call upon all the things she's learned before,

0:46:210:46:25

and then recombine that learning in a novel task.

0:46:250:46:29

She has to think about it.

0:46:290:46:31

It was only by educating Rio that scientists revealed

0:46:320:46:36

she was more than a trained animal performing tricks.

0:46:360:46:38

Here was a sea lion that could do something that would tax

0:46:380:46:41

a four-year-old child.

0:46:410:46:44

Given enough time, what else could animals learn?

0:46:440:46:48

Irene Pepperberg is a scientist who spent 25 years teaching

0:46:540:46:58

just one animal.

0:46:580:47:00

Well, thank you so much for having me here

0:47:020:47:05

and thank you for being here to support the foundation.

0:47:050:47:08

She's revealed that animals can learn more than letters and numbers.

0:47:080:47:12

And are capable of many skills we see in human children.

0:47:120:47:15

To prove an idea this big,

0:47:190:47:21

Irene collaborated with another highly-respected mind.

0:47:210:47:24

It was after about that sort of 25-year mark in a sense that he

0:47:270:47:32

had really begun to put everything together.

0:47:320:47:34

And then he died.

0:47:340:47:36

His death was a loss to science, and made headlines around the world.

0:47:390:47:43

Three articles in the New York Times,

0:47:440:47:48

an obituary in the Economist.

0:47:480:47:51

This is, this is not something small.

0:47:510:47:55

There's no doubt that her research partner was special.

0:47:550:47:58

But he was also a parrot.

0:47:580:48:00

Alex.

0:48:000:48:02

It's hard to find out what animals know.

0:48:040:48:06

But because Irene taught Alex to talk, she could ask him.

0:48:060:48:09

What matter?

0:48:090:48:11

Paper.

0:48:110:48:12

-Paper, good boy, that's right.

-Want a nut.

0:48:120:48:14

Alex was a parrot capable of much more than parroting.

0:48:140:48:18

-Wool.

-Wool. Very good boy.

0:48:180:48:21

Alex changed the way we think about animal intelligence,

0:48:210:48:25

but it was only through teaching him that Irene could reveal exactly what he was capable of.

0:48:250:48:31

'I've come here to meet Irene's latest pupil,

0:48:330:48:36

'and Alex's protege, Griffin.'

0:48:360:48:38

Hello, Griffin.

0:48:380:48:39

Good parrot.

0:48:390:48:40

'And I want to find out how Irene teaches him, and what he knows.'

0:48:400:48:45

So it's, listen.

0:48:450:48:46

SHE SNAPS HER FINGERS

0:48:460:48:47

How many?

0:48:490:48:50

Five!

0:48:500:48:52

Five. That's right, you get a five.

0:48:520:48:53

'Irene teaches parrots, in the same way you'd teach toddlers.'

0:48:530:48:57

Five.

0:48:570:48:58

-Yes, five!

-Five.

0:48:580:49:00

'Repeat everything, with a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm. But it works.'

0:49:000:49:04

Most of the time.

0:49:060:49:07

'It was time to find out what Griffin knew.'

0:49:080:49:11

He can identify objects.

0:49:140:49:16

-What matter?

-Rock, rock.

0:49:160:49:17

Rock, that's right. Good boy.

0:49:170:49:20

'What they're made of.'

0:49:220:49:23

Wool, wool.

0:49:230:49:25

Good birdie.

0:49:250:49:27

-'Their shape.'

-Griffin, what shape?

0:49:270:49:29

-Corner, corner, corner.

-That's right.

0:49:290:49:31

'And their colour.'

0:49:320:49:34

Yellow.

0:49:340:49:35

Yes, what colour, Griffin?

0:49:350:49:36

-Green.

-Yes!

0:49:360:49:38

-Orange.

-Yes.

0:49:380:49:40

'He knows his numbers.'

0:49:400:49:41

How many?

0:49:410:49:42

One.

0:49:420:49:44

Awesome.

0:49:450:49:46

He might tell you what sound this is. Ask him what sound.

0:49:470:49:50

Really?

0:49:500:49:52

'He's also learning to identify letters.'

0:49:520:49:54

What sound, Griffin? What sound?

0:49:540:49:58

'And to sound them out.'

0:49:580:49:59

'Ssss.'

0:49:590:50:01

-That's right.

-Nut.

0:50:010:50:03

Yes, you can have another nut, OK.

0:50:030:50:06

'A good education brings out the best in both people and parrots.'

0:50:060:50:11

Teaching animals to communicate with us can tell us

0:50:110:50:14

so much about the inner workings of their minds.

0:50:140:50:18

And it's very clear that these animals can think for themselves.

0:50:180:50:21

But we would never have known that had it not

0:50:210:50:24

been for the dedication of Irene and how she taught these parrots.

0:50:240:50:29

Griffin has learned a lot, but Alex really excelled.

0:50:300:50:34

And what's this?

0:50:340:50:36

Key.

0:50:360:50:37

-Key is right. Say better.

-Key.

0:50:370:50:39

Good parrot.

0:50:390:50:40

He could do everything Griffin does, and much more.

0:50:400:50:43

He didn't just describe objects,

0:50:440:50:47

but he understood concepts like same and different.

0:50:470:50:50

Tell me what's different?

0:50:510:50:53

Colour.

0:50:530:50:54

Good parrot. You're right.

0:50:540:50:56

Different colour.

0:50:560:50:58

All right now, look, tell me, what colour bigger? What colour bigger?

0:50:580:51:02

Green.

0:51:020:51:03

Green. Good boy.

0:51:030:51:04

Tell me how many yellow wool?

0:51:040:51:06

And he had to study very hard, so he could answer more complex questions.

0:51:060:51:11

Try again.

0:51:110:51:13

Two.

0:51:130:51:14

Two yellow wool. Very good. Now how many green block?

0:51:140:51:18

Very good telling me the yellow wool. Now how many green block?

0:51:180:51:22

-Four.

-Good boy!

0:51:220:51:24

This was no trick.

0:51:250:51:27

Alex was a bird that could use human language

0:51:270:51:30

o answer questions that would stump a pre-school child.

0:51:300:51:34

But what's the limit?

0:51:370:51:39

Could an animal ever beat a human adult in an intelligence test?

0:51:390:51:44

This notion might seem impossible, but in the last 50 years,

0:51:480:51:52

we've discovered a lot of impossible things going on in animal minds.

0:51:520:51:57

They use tools, solve problems with a flash of inspiration,

0:51:590:52:04

and they plan ahead.

0:52:040:52:06

They learn like us

0:52:080:52:09

by finding the time and enthusiasm to discover how the world works.

0:52:090:52:14

And by having an incredible memory to turn those experiences

0:52:150:52:20

into knowledge.

0:52:200:52:21

They can even get creative

0:52:230:52:25

and learn things we teach our own children.

0:52:250:52:29

But beating us in an intelligence test?

0:52:300:52:33

I didn't think that was possible. Until I came to Japan.

0:52:330:52:37

At the start of the programme we met a very special chimp

0:52:430:52:46

called Ayumu.

0:52:460:52:48

He can remember the position of nine numbers in less than half a second.

0:52:480:52:53

But how did he get to be so smart?

0:52:560:52:58

Ayumu comes from a long line of intelligent apes.

0:53:020:53:05

HE MAKES CHIMP NOISES

0:53:050:53:07

And has a fantastic teacher.

0:53:080:53:10

Professor Matsuzawa has worked with Ai, Ayumu's mother,

0:53:130:53:17

for over 30 years.

0:53:170:53:19

Together they started this ground-breaking research.

0:53:250:53:29

The professor has taught mother and son the Japanese symbols

0:53:320:53:36

for colour, and the very beginnings of basic maths.

0:53:360:53:41

But it's Ai's son Ayumu, that's turned out to be the real genius,

0:53:420:53:47

especially when it comes to numbers and memory.

0:53:470:53:51

But could he beat an adult human?

0:53:520:53:54

I've never been one to turn down a challenge so,

0:53:550:53:58

I'm going to try the very same intelligence test.

0:53:580:54:01

I'm going head-to-head with Ayumu.

0:54:010:54:03

Human mind against chimp mind.

0:54:070:54:09

How hard could it be?

0:54:090:54:11

All I've got now once I press that little circle is 0.43 of a second

0:54:110:54:16

to remember where exactly the numbers are before they disappear behind squares.

0:54:160:54:22

Yeah...this should be interesting.

0:54:220:54:24

Think about nothing, relax, don't focus.

0:54:260:54:30

These numbers are being displayed for less than half a second.

0:54:400:54:45

That's barely enough time for my eyes to scan the screen.

0:54:450:54:49

BUZZER

0:54:490:54:50

BUZZER

0:54:530:54:54

Remembering five numbers was hard enough,

0:54:560:54:58

but this is entry-level stuff.

0:54:580:55:00

BUZZER

0:55:000:55:02

OK, so now for an even more interesting experience.

0:55:020:55:05

I'm going to try and do exactly the same thing,

0:55:050:55:08

but there won't be five numbers, but nine numbers.

0:55:080:55:11

Almost twice the numbers to remember in the same amount of time.

0:55:150:55:20

In ten attempts I got one right.

0:55:210:55:23

It was all or nothing.

0:55:280:55:29

I asked the Professor to test me to Ayumu's level.

0:55:290:55:33

What was this chimp genius meant to be capable of?

0:55:330:55:35

Right, then, as if that wasn't difficult enough

0:55:350:55:38

I am now going to attempt what no other human has attempted before.

0:55:380:55:42

The same test,

0:55:420:55:43

except that the numbers only flash up for 0.06 of a second.

0:55:430:55:47

60 milliseconds.

0:55:470:55:50

The entire reputation of the human race rests on my shoulders

0:55:500:55:54

right now.

0:55:540:55:55

Here goes.

0:55:550:55:56

You've got to be kidding.

0:56:020:56:03

BUZZER

0:56:060:56:07

This is unbelievable. They flash up

0:56:070:56:10

for such a short amount of time

0:56:100:56:12

I can't even register one single number.

0:56:120:56:15

This is bonkers.

0:56:170:56:18

No idea.

0:56:200:56:22

It was time to meet the master.

0:56:230:56:25

Was he really capable of a mental feat that humans find impossible?

0:56:350:56:39

60 milliseconds.

0:56:490:56:51

That's not even the blink of an eye.

0:56:510:56:54

But Ayumu takes it all in.

0:56:540:56:55

When this skill was first discovered some scientists said that it was down to practice.

0:57:050:57:09

But that theory has been completely blown out of the water,

0:57:090:57:13

when you consider how short a time those numbers are flashed up for.

0:57:130:57:18

It's impossible to do it, never mind get better at it with practice,

0:57:180:57:21

which just goes to show how special this skill is in Ayumu.

0:57:210:57:26

Now that is incredible.

0:57:280:57:29

Take a bow, Ayumu. You are a true animal Einstein.

0:57:310:57:34

We've met some incredible animal minds.

0:57:390:57:42

But all that's child's play,

0:57:430:57:44

compared to one huge challenge that remains.

0:57:440:57:48

Learning how to deal with every other animal on the planet.

0:57:480:57:52

Next time,

0:57:550:57:56

we'll discover why it takes brains to thrive in the social world.

0:57:560:57:59

Can animals deceive others? Do they have feelings?

0:58:010:58:04

And is it possible for us

0:58:040:58:05

to have an actual conversation with another species?

0:58:050:58:08

He wants to chase and tickle with you now.

0:58:080:58:11

I want to chase and tickle with you too!

0:58:120:58:15

Next time, we meet meerkat teachers in scorpion school.

0:58:160:58:19

Spend time with emotional ocean giants.

0:58:210:58:25

And challenge Chaser.

0:58:250:58:27

Einstein.

0:58:270:58:29

A dog that knows over a thousand words.

0:58:290:58:31

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:520:58:54

For centuries, the idea of intelligent animals struck most people as ridiculous. But not any more - the latest science reveals that animals are a lot smarter than we thought.

From skateboarding dogs to chimp maths geniuses, Liz Bonnin embarks on a worldwide search for the planet's most intelligent animals, devising some ingenious IQ puzzles and even putting herself to the test to find out.

Liz gets creative with dolphins, shares a eureka moment with orangutans and defends the reputation of the human race when she goes head-to-head with a chimp genius in a test of maths and memory. There is an octopus escapologist, John Humphrys puts a goldfish through its paces on Mastermind, and Tillman the skateboarding dog wows crowds in Los Angeles.

Prepare to be amazed, entertained and even outwitted by the world's Super Smart Animals.


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