Milk Bottles & Animal IQ

Ken McE (
Mon, 15 Dec 1997 07:18:52 -0300

Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 07:18:52 -0300
From: Ken McE <>
Subject: Milk Bottles & Animal IQ

Valla Pishva <> Wrote:
> Concerning the present discussion thats been going around on tits,
> magpies, jackdaws, crows, and others I'd like to add my bit to help cure
> this "distributed memory lapse" (a term coined by a friend of mine).
> 1. I was under the impression that crows could actually count to 7 or 8,
> and that this number was frequently used as a sort of intelligence
> quotient for animals (but then again, remember the magic number paper-
> 7"=or-"2 for humans). Incidentally, Walruses come in at about 3 or 4 (as
> evidenced by eskimos coming in a boat to a walrus shore and leaving with
> less people than when they came- the ones who stayed behind would hide).
> 2. as for the milkbottle story, I heard it best explained by Rupert
> Sheldrake in the "A glorious accident" series a few years back.
> Apparently, it happened around the time of WW2. I dont remember the
> bird's name (though my intuition says tit) but this is one of Ruperts
> favorite examples for evidence of his morphic field resonance theory (so
> it should be in some of his books/online interviews also) since he also
> holds that this behavior poped up independently in other, migrationarily
> isolated, parts of the world after it happened in england, thus showing
> (in his mind) that once birds in one area have discovered a certain
> strategy/method/"meme" for solving a "problem" it would be easier for
> other birds to independently solve this same problem without observing
> other birds conducting the solution--- How? because the birds who first
> solved it emit/have attuned their morphic fields to make it easier (kind
> of like a species-specific unconscious telepathy) for others to come to
> the same conclusion.

Ken McE comments:

I seem to recall a similar story in the southwestern United states
about coyotes and milk bottles, it might have been part of a Walt Disney
special many years ago. We have the crows story too, only I think we
have a lower number for how high they can count.

We also have the Hundred monkeys story here. It states that
researchers were studying snow monkeys on islands around Japan. As part
of the project they would leave rice on the beach for the monkeys.

One monkey on one island learned to throw the rice in the water to
clean it. (Is faster than picking up and dusting off one grain at a
time) Slowly other monkeys learned this by watching. The story is that
after about 100 monkeys were doing this, ALL the monkeys, even on other
islands, started to do it. Have not verified this for myself.

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