Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass the mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Welcome Sioux Falls Animal Lovers!

Sioux Falls Zoologists is a group made up of people with open minds who love animals as well as zoologists themselves. This website provides news articles, movies, books, and other information related to animals, and especially to animal intelligence. Located in Sioux Falls, SD, the Sioux Falls Zoologists have meetings and social gatherings where people of free thought and open minds that love animals meet, share ideas, support each other, and have fun with other animal lovers.

To become a member of this group join
Sioux Falls Free Thinkers on

Our meetings and social gatherings are posted at Sioux Falls Free Thinkers on Sioux Falls Free Thinkers Upcoming Events can be seen on the Calendar.

Second Free Thinkers Meetup of the Year: Discuss First Two Weeks of Billboards and TV Ads

Location and Time to Be Announced

The Billboards and TV Ads are bound to create controversy. Share what you have heard.

What more can we do! Ideas please!

The Facts Behind The Hate!
To see what the billboards look like:

Dale Hemming
Founder of Sioux Falls Free Thinkers

The Sioux Falls Zoologists group will never have any dues. Membership is not required to attend our meetings. This group will probably never have any formal rules except treating other members and their opinions with respect and giving everyone equal time to speak. This group will never purge members for expressing their opinions or for forming their own group of animal lovers. The only loose requirement is that members, and those attending our meetings, have an interest in one of the subjects of the Sioux Falls Free Thinkers websites.

Breaking News!

12-2-16 Whales talk to each other by slapping out messages on water
Whales talk to each other by slapping out messages on water
Humpback whales break the surface and splash down to make a long-distance call, while fin-slapping is for local conversations. It’s something all whale-watchers yearn to see. The sight of whales breaking the surface and slapping their fins on the water is a true spectacle – but the animals don’t do it just for show. Instead, it appears that all that splashing is about messaging other whales, and the big splashes are for long-distance calls. Ailbhe Kavanagh at the University of Queensland in Gatton, Australia, and her colleagues studied 94 different groups of humpback whales migrating south along the Queensland coast in 2010 and 2011. Humpback whales regularly leap out of the water and twist on to their backs – an action known as breaching – and slap their tails and fins in a repetitive fashion. The resulting sounds travel underwater and could possibly communicate messages to other whales.

11-16-16 Creative cockatoos skilfully make tools from different materials
Creative cockatoos skilfully make tools from different materials
A parrot genius known to make tools has now shown that it does this with a specific purpose in mind, making useful items from twigs, wood and cardboard. It’s toolmaking with intent. Goffin’s cockatoos in the lab use their beaks to carefully cut out a tool from a sheet of cardboard before using it to retrieve an out-of-reach nut. In 2012, a male Goffin’s cockatoo named Figaro proved to be smarter than the average bird: he worked out that he could get to a nut just beyond his reach by tearing a long splinter off a chunk of wood and using it to rake the food. The behaviour – which some other cockatoos also picked up later – seemed to suggest the intentional creation of tools with a specific design for reaching food. But there were some doubters. “There were questions on whether the elongated shape of the tool was intentional,” says Alice Auersperg at the University of Vienna in Austria, who described Figaro’s behaviour in 2012. “He could just have bitten the material out of frustration and ended up with a functional tool due to the age lines of the wood.” In other words, wood naturally tears into the shape of a nut-retrieving tool, making it unclear whether the birds set out deliberately to fashion tools of the right shape for the task, or whether they just stumbled upon one that works well. Auersperg and her colleagues have now performed some follow-up investigations to make a stronger case for cockatoos having a specific intention in their toolmaking.

11-16-16 Cockatoos proven able to create tools
Cockatoos proven able to create tools
Researchers at Oxford and Vienna University have shown that Goffin’s cockatoos can make and use tools out of different materials to reach a reward. (Webmaster's comment: This video shows them doing it.)

9-23-16 Dolphins have conversations
Dolphins have conversations
Dolphins have an elaborate spoken language and engage in conversations, Russian researchers have concluded. Marine biologists have recorded an exchange between Yasha and Yana, two Black Sea bottlenose dolphins that took turns producing a series of pulses, which the researchers identified as individual “words” strung together to form sentences. It’s well known that dolphins use pulses, clicks, and whistles to communicate, but the recordings reveal that they also alter the volume and pitch of the sounds they make, enabling them to convey messages and seemingly form sentences. The dolphins appeared to listen to each other without interrupting before responding—behavior reminiscent of a chat between well-mannered friends. While the researchers were unable to decipher what the dolphins were saying, their recordings suggest the marine mammals, which have larger brains than we do, communicate in a highly developed language. Researcher Vyacheslav Ryabov tells that humans should create a device that could decode dolphin language and enable us to communicate. “We must take the first step to establish relationships with the first intelligent inhabitants of the planet,” Ryabov said.

7-28-16 Crows are first animals spotted using tools to carry objects
Crows are first animals spotted using tools to carry objects
Brainy New Caledonian crows have figured out how to carry objects too large to move with their beaks by using a stick. New Caledonian crows have figured out how to move two things in one fell swoop. The adept tool users have been filmed inserting sticks into objects to transport both items at once – a feat that has never been seen in non-humans. Ivo Jacobs of Lund University in Sweden and his team recorded the unique behaviour in a group of captive crows (Corvus moneduloides). They saw how one crafty individual slipped a wooden stick into a metal nut and flew off, carrying away both the tool and the object. A few days later, another crow inserted a thin stick into a hole in a large wooden ball to move the items out of the room. The team observed four other instances of the crows’ clever trick. One of these involved using a stick to transport an object that was too large to be handled by beak. The birds’ novel mode of tool use may be a reflection of their intelligence and exceptionally large brains. Although we already knew crows could use tools, adapting this behaviour to other contexts involving novel objects and purposes shows behavioural flexibility, says Jacobs. “This is typically seen as a hallmark of complex cognitive abilities.” (Webmaster's comment: Like I have said. Next to humans crows are the smartest animals on the planet.)

4-15-16 Dolphins have a language that helps them solve problems together
Dolphins have a language that helps them solve problems together
When faced with a puzzle that two can solve better than one, bottlenose dolphins chatter away, suggesting that they have a specific vocalisation for working together. Bottlenose dolphins have been observed chattering while cooperating to solve a tricky puzzle – a feat that suggests they have a type of vocalisation dedicated to cooperating on problem solving. Holli Eskelinen of Dolphins Plus research institute in Florida and her colleagues at the University of Southern Mississippi presented a group of six captive dolphins with a locked canister filled with food. The canister could only be opened by simultaneously pulling on a rope at either end. The team conducted 24 canister trials, during which all six dolphins were present. Only two of the dolphins ever managed to crack the puzzle and get to the food.

1-8-16 Falcons imprison live birds to keep them fresh for a later meal
Falcons imprison live birds to keep them fresh for a later meal
Eleonora's falcons in Morocco seem to pluck and imprison small birds in rocky crevasses so they can eat them later. In a census of the island’s falcons in 2014, Abdeljebbar Qninba of Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, and his colleagues came across small birds trapped in deep cavities, their flight and tail feathers removed. The birds were unable to move their wings or use their dangling legs, the team reported. Crippling and imprisoning prey might be a means of keeping fresh food nearby, so parents can stay on the nest and still have snacks nearby to feed hungry offspring. (Webmaster's comment: Amazing! The falcons are keeping livestock, just as humans do. We also clip the wings of geese and ducks so they can't fly away so we can eat them later. And we often imprison them in pens for the same reason.)

Animal Facts: Humans have 5 million olfactory receptors, dogs have 220 million, 44 times more than humans. Dogs literally "see" the world through their nose.
Dolphins communicate, and see the world using echolocation, with frequencies up to 150,000 hertz. We are limited to 22,000 hertz. We can not hear them talk, we can not image what they "see". They can "see" (echolocate) a tennis ball a football field away in murky water. A task hard for many of us even in clean air.

Our "slogan" above comes from the following quote:
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!

We look forward to seeing you at one or more of our events and meetings!

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Welcome Sioux Falls Animal Lovers!