bird memes

Mark M. Mills (
Tue, 22 Sep 1998 18:27:30 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 18:27:30 -0500
From: "Mark M. Mills" <>
Subject: bird memes

More evidence that memetics relates to more of the animal kingdom than man

"A new study suggests that scrub jays can remember important events in
their lives - what happened, where it happened and when. Some researchers
have proposed that only people were capable of this type of recollection,
known as episodic memory.

But in the latest issue of the journal 'Nature,' researchers from the
University of California, Davis, and the University of Cambridge in England
report that birds do it too. The scientists gave scrub jays some worms and
peanuts, the birds hid them in trays.

Later, when the birds were allowed to retrieve their food, they knew where
they had stored worms and peanuts, knew where to find them, and even more
significantly, the researchers said, remembered when the food had been
hidden. If the birds were allowed to retrieve the food four hours after
they had hidden it, they went straight t\for the worms. But, if the birds
were made to wait five days, they went straight for the peanuts, even
though they ware known to prefer worms.

The scientists had taught the jays that after five days, the worms spoil.
The jays went for the peanuts after 5 days, which means they have a sense
of time, the researchers wrote." (Sue Goetinck)

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Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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