Article Title Surprising Talents of Members of the Animal Kingdom

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There are many members of the animal kingdom with surprising talents. Some of these animals are dogs, chimpanzees, birds, jelyfish, frogs, and octopus with suprising talents. Humans can learn much from the extraordinary talents found within the animal kingdom.

Canine cancer detection

There are dogs, particularly Scent hounds, which have such unique olfactory abilities that they can detect very low concentrations of the alkanes and aromatic compounds that are generated by carcinogenic tumors. Scent hounds hunt primarily by scent rather than by sight. Most of the scent hounds have long, drooping ears. The ears collect the scent from air and keep it near their noses. They also have large nasal cavities, and their large loose lips assist in trapping scent particles. By sniffing a patient’s breath, these dogs can determine that the patient has lung cancer. In a 2011 study, lung cancer was identified with a specificity of 93%.  It is the belief of researchers that dogs will become directly integrated in patient care by working directly with patients in detecting carcinomas. Scent hounds include Beagles, Dachshunds, Foxhounds, Basset hounds, Blood hounds, Norwegian Elkhound, Otterhound, Rhodesian ridgeback and other hounds.

Daisy and Tangle were trained to detect the unique odor of bladder cancer cells in urine samples. Scientists at the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University in Tallahassee have trained dogs to smell other cancers including malignant melanomas, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. A dog named Delta can detect subtle changes in blood glucose levels of diabetic patients.

Seizure Response Dogs

Seizure response dogs react when a patient has a seizure. They can detect an aura before the seizure and then they bark to notify the patient and others of the impending seizure. They lie down next to the seizing patient to protect them, they remove dangerous objects that could harm the patient having the seizure, and then they help revive the patient after the seizure.

Dogs are now trained to help patients with Post traumatic stress disorder, autism, schizophrenia bi-polar disorders and panic attacks. Dogs have used a long time to help the deaf and blind.

Chimpanzee genius named Natasha

Humans and Chimpanzees come from family of Hominidae, which are the most intelligent creatures on earth. Chimps are the closest relatives of humans. The human genome and the chimpanzee genome are 98.7% identical. The DNA sequences are nearly identical. So it should be no surprise that while all chimps are intelligent, some chimps are geniuses. Natasha, a chimp from Uganda, was found to have a genius IQ by researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany after a series of tests. Primatologist Brian Hare of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, is quoted as saying "There are many different types of intelligence that vary independently of one another. This means there are many different types of genius, even in animals."

The Immortal Jellyfish

The key to human immortality may lie in the immortal jellyfish "Turritopsis nutricala". This species of jellyfish has the ability to transform its cells back into a youthful state. This jellyfish transforms into a "blob-like cyst". This cyst grows into a polyp colony which is its first stage of life. The jellyfish continues its normal life cycle. Instead of dying, this jellyfish reverts back into the polyp colony, time and again. It bypasses death which makes it biologically immortal. Scientist Shin Kubota told "The New York Times", "The immortal medusa is the most miraculous species in the entire animal kingdom." 

Birds that can use tools

The New Caledonian Crow (Corvus moneduloides) is a bird that has intelligence. They live in New Caledonia and Loyalty Islands in the Pacific.  The New Caledonian Crow has the ability to make and use tools. This ability has always been restricted to humans and apes. A study published in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society” explains the results of scientists who gave the crows a three-stage problem. The crows had to use a string, attach it to a short stick, use the short stick to get a long stick out of a tool box, and then use the long stick to fish food out of a hole. The birds applied an abstract idea and used complex cognition (thinking) and behavioral innovation. Our closest relative, the chimpanzee has not mastered this ability. In addition to making and using tools, these crows have been given multiple sophisticated cognitive tests suggesting that this species has intelligence. These crows have become a model for scientists studying the evolution of intelligence.  

Frogs that break their own legs

The Hairy Frog (Trichobatrachus robustus) is a Central African species of frog. As a defense mechanism, this frog will break its own legs and produce claws made of bone. When the frog is attacked or grabbed, it forces its sharpened claws through its skin. When the claws later retract passively, new tissue is regenerated. Amphibian researcher and biologist David Wake of The University of California, Berkley, says that "this type of weaponry appears to be unique in the animal kingdom".

Octopus that mimics

The mimic octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus, is a species of octopus discovered in 1998 in the tropical seas of Southeast Asia. While all species of octopus are highly intelligent and have the ability to change their color and texture in order to blend in with its surroundings, the mimic octopus has the ability to intelligently decide which predator to impersonate. After their discovery, scientists filmed nine different mimic octopuses for two years. They discovered that this octopus can change its appearance to that of sixteen predators including a venomous sole, sea snakes, jellyfish, sea anemones, stingrays, mantis shrimp, lion fish and crabs. This animal is so intelligent that it can decide which dangerous sea creature to impersonate.

Scientists continue to learn that there are many more members of the animal kingdom that have suprising talents. It is their hope that one day these talents can be used to help human diseases, such as the canine cancer detection dogs.

More about this author: Mari Mckee

From Around the Web

  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canine_cancer_detection
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/dogs-that-changed-the-world/medical-dogs/1277/
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/29/natasha-genius-chimp-intelligence-tests_n_1838963.html
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/29/immortal-jellyfish-lives-forever-reverts-stage-life_n_2207583.html
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/21/new-caledonian-crow-bird-editorial
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Caledonian_Crow
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hairy_Frog
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=260