Thursday, August 21, 2008

Maya is no bird brain! (yet)

It was previously thought that only chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants had the ability to recognize them self in a mirror. Helmut Prior of the Institute of Psychology at Goethe University in Frankfurt found that Magpies can also recognize themselves in a mirror. The simple test for this is to sneak a sticker on the animal and put them in front of a mirror. If they have self awareness and they look in a mirror they will immediately see the sticker turn to them self and try to take the sticker off. In contrast animals that lack self awareness look in the mirror and immediately try to tell that other animal in the mirror that they have the sticker on with one of those motions you make when you try to tell someone they have food on their face or their zipper is down. Maya looked at herself in the mirror with her sticker on and mostly just drooled. Apparently you have to be closer to 18 months old to recognize yourself if human.

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