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Humans, Apes, Birds, and Intimidation

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Humans, Apes, Birds, and Intimidation

Postby Skeletor Rinpoche » Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:50 am

Its obvious that some birds can mimic human speech, yet they cannot formulate sentences and express concepts. Apes can understand complex concepts with ease, yet they cannot use language or speech at all. My question is, how can birds with brains the size of a walnut possibly mimic or, more specifially, need to mimic speech and sounds, and why is speech not seen in any other apes, even though they are more intelligent socially than birds?
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Postby Skeletor Rinpoche » Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:51 am

*** meant to say imitation in the heading, must have slipped in the spelling
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Postby MrMistery » Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:50 am

singing is very important to birds, especially to Paseriformes. Birds have a specialised organ, named syrinx that helps them produce all kinds of sounds. it is purely a coicidence that some birds can produce sounds that resemble our speech, it doesn't mean they think or anything...
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Postby Darby » Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:51 pm

Don't make the common mistake of "size means everything" in brains - birds can do a lot with less. And studies with African Grey Parrots indicate that birds can grasp the meaning of language as well as reproduce it. And as for birds being less socially intelligent than primates, read up on crows (which have shown remarkable abilities in tool-making for unique problems).

Our ability to speak is strongly linked to our throat structures, which are different than other primates, possibly due to shifting while we became upright walkers. I'm sure you know about the sign language examples in apes, which indicate that they can produce language when given one they are physically capable of.
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Postby sachin » Sun Jan 07, 2007 5:12 pm

They just mimic.... That may be interesting stuff for them..
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Postby mith » Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:46 pm

Speech isn't a prerequisite nor the only indication of intelligence. You need to think language.
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Postby Skeletor Rinpoche » Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:07 am

By speech I mean the ability to mimic words, not being able to formulate sentences to express ideas(language). Birds can speak to mimic but cannot formulate sentences. My question is that what barrier prevents other apes from using speech or language (physically or mentally) that birds can use for mimicing
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Postby sachin » Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:20 am

They might not have that specialised Larynx or they do not even try to do that.........
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Postby MrMistery » Mon Jan 08, 2007 4:49 pm

apes are not physically capable of speech. but a researcher has taught a gorilla to understand 2000 words and use 1000 words in sign language. The research is controversial though...
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Postby sachin » Mon Jan 08, 2007 7:25 pm

Ya, they can not speak more than....

Hoo..HOOO.HHOOO....HUp...Hoo.....
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Postby Linn » Tue Jan 09, 2007 3:21 am

MrMistery wrote:apes are not physically capable of speech. but a researcher has taught a gorilla to understand 2000 words and use 1000 words in sign language. The research is controversial though...


OH :shock:
Tell me about that because I am teaching my grandughter about Koko and we are learning sign language. I was not aware there was controvercy. :?
If you watch the videos with koko signing, you see her use the correct hand signs for the words, and she answers questions asked.

Watch Koko:

http://edcommunity.apple.com/ali/story.php?itemID=545
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Re: Humans, Apes, Birds, and Intimidation

Postby David George » Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:21 am

Skeletor Rinpoche wrote:Its obvious that some birds can mimic human speech, yet they cannot formulate sentences and express concepts. Apes can understand complex concepts with ease, yet they cannot use language or speech at all. My question is, how can birds with brains the size of a walnut possibly mimic or, more specifially, need to mimic speech and sounds, and why is speech not seen in any other apes, even though they are more intelligent socially than birds?


I don't think you can take the brain size here as sperm whales have the biggest brains but certainly not the most clever and a character not present in an organism isn't considered.For instance Birds can fly humans cannot that doesn't mean humans are primitive.
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