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.

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

Review of Sioux Falls Feminists final Domestic Violence billboards for Sept.-Oct.

We'll meet at Perkins Restaurant & Bakery at 3400 S Gateway Blvd on Saturday, August 27th at 6:30 PM.

I will have a sign for Sioux Falls Feminists on table

Join us for a final review of the October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month billboards. There are 42 images that will be displayed between Sept 12th and Oct 23rd on 12 static and 3 digital billboards. These are especially relevant in view of the latest sex abuse news articles in Argus Leader Friday the 19th.

The food at Perkins is good and inexpensive with many kinds of fare.

We can also discuss any subjects of interest to our members. Free Thinking, Feminism, Atheism and Religion, Science and Reason, and Animal Intelligence. We should also discuss how we could further promote the Anti-Domestic Violence campaign.

I'll be bringing plenty of Science and News magazines to give away. You should feel free to bring a friend or two.

Dale Hemming, Founder of Sioux Falls Feminists

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!

8-3-16 First evidence birds nap in flight without dropping out of sky
First evidence birds nap in flight without dropping out of sky
Brain recorders fitted to 14 great frigatebirds show these birds sleep on the wing, usually while circling in rising air currents. The debate has finally been put to bed. Wearable brainwave recorders confirm that birds do indeed sleep while flying, but only for brief periods and usually with one half of their brain. We know several bird species can travel vast distances non-stop, prompting speculation that they must nap mid-flight. Great frigatebirds, for example, can fly continuously for up to two months. On the other hand, the male sandpiper, for one, can largely forgo sleep during the breeding season, hinting that it may also be possible for birds to stay awake during prolonged trips. To settle this question, Niels Rattenborg at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany, and his colleagues fitted small brain activity monitors and movement trackers to 14 great frigatebirds. During long flights, the birds slept for an average of 41 minutes per day, in short episodes of about 12 seconds each. By contrast, they slept for more than 12 hours per day on land. Frigatebirds in flight tend to use one hemisphere at a time to sleep, as do ducks and dolphins, but sometimes they used both. “Some people thought that all their sleep would have to be unihemispheric otherwise they would drop from the sky,” says Rattenborg. “But that’s not the case – they can sleep with both hemispheres and they just continue soaring.” Sleep typically took place as the birds were circling in rising air currents, when they did not need to flap their wings.

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.

3-30-16 Human versus pig: Can we outwit the hog hordes?
Human versus pig: Can we outwit the hog hordes?
Feral pigs have ruined crops, dug up cemeteries and even crashed a fighter jet. The challenge: eliminate a foe that's smarter than a chimp and can run at 50 km/h. Across the world, and especially in the southern US, feral pigs are a problem. Marauding hordes of swine are destroying crops and sensitive natural environments, causing traffic accidents and spreading disease and parasites. They have even dug up cemeteries. The US Department of Agriculture estimates the damage at $1.5 billion a year. Traps of the sort Woodson lays are generally thought to be the least bad option in dealing with the pigs. But porcine intelligence makes trapping a full time job. Pigs have been shown to beat chimps when it comes to IQ, are whizzes at navigating complex mazes and can manipulate cursors on a screen by controlling a joystick with their snout. It means in simple traps they soon work out how to jump over short fences and climb taller ones, for example by gaining purchase at a corner.

3-21-16 Manta rays are first fish to recognise themselves in a mirror
Manta rays are first fish to recognise themselves in a mirror
Mirror test suggests big-brained manta rays have what it takes to be self-aware, but not everyone is convinced by results or even the test itself. Giant manta rays have been filmed checking out their reflections in a way that suggests they are self-aware. Only a small number of animals, mostly primates, have passed the mirror test, widely used as a tentative test of self-awareness. “This new discovery is incredibly important,” says Marc Bekoff, of the University of Colorado in Boulder. “It shows that we really need to expand the range of animals we study.” But not everyone is convinced that the new study proves conclusively that manta rays, which have the largest brains of any fish, can do this – or indeed, that the mirror test itself is an appropriate measure of self-awareness.

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!