Monkey Ears

Written by Andrea Campbell

Justrepparttar other day I was talking to Ziggy, my Helping Hands capuchin monkey, and she looked at me quizzically and said, "Huh? Speak up!"

I have been operating underrepparttar 127721 assumption that her eyesight and hearing was equal to or better than ours. What made me think that? Well, we live atrepparttar 127722 top of a hill and, as a result, cars coming uprepparttar 127723 steep incline can generally can be heard lowering into a heftier gear just before their approach. When K-9, our Dalmatian was alive, even though she was a bright dog, Ziggy used to barkrepparttar 127724 arrival of an approaching vehicle before K-9 did. Therefore, I’d just assumed thatrepparttar 127725 monkey’s ears were keener. Now a new study comes out from some researchers atrepparttar 127726 Michigan State University telling me I’m wrong. That monkeys’ hearing is "discernibly less acute than that of people forrepparttar 127727 frequency range in which human speech is expressed and heard." In fact,repparttar 127728 clinical truth of this has been known for a long time, but a fundamental explanation as to why has forever been lacking. Until now.

Physics is a field dealing withrepparttar 127729 properties and interactions of matter and energy. Currently, a new subfield of physics, biological physics is providing answers to questions such as why monkey ears, while so similar to our own, work differently. Michael Harrison, a Michigan State University physicist, has written a paper forrepparttar 127730 American Physical Society outlining, forrepparttar 127731 first time, his results explaining this phenomenon. And apparently size isrepparttar 127732 all important key.

To begin, Harrison tells us that we can think of our ears as holding pens for all matter of sound. Human ears register pure tones, which our brain eventually translates into meaningful sound such as speech or music, butrepparttar 127733 tones must fight their way through a lot of noise. The noise is created fromrepparttar 127734 amount of air that is found insiderepparttar 127735 ear canal, under certain ambient air temperature. In other words, Harrison explains it like this: "Air molecules are like people moving around in a crowded room at a cocktail party. The warmer it is,repparttar 127736 more molecules—or cocktail guests—run around, and it creates noise. With this random noise, it’s harder to hear an individual conversation."

Monkey Brains

Written by Andrea Campbell

You’re a primate, I’m a primate, monkeys are primates!

Even beforerepparttar release of my book Bringing Up Ziggy, I was studying all aspects of primates. And I’m not alone. By observingrepparttar 127720 other levels of primate order in behavior and learning, we often discover many similarities between ourselves and our closest biological species.

Psychological researchers at Columbia University conducted tests showing that rhesus monkeys can decipherrepparttar 127721 difference between one, two and three. Now, Elizabeth M. Brannon, Ph.D. and Herbert S. Terrace, Ph.D., both psychologists at Columbia, designed experiments to discern whether monkeys could learn rules for putting objects into categories, and then apply those rules to a new set of objects.

Not so surprising to me,repparttar 127722 scientists found that animals can not only be taught to count but actually understandrepparttar 127723 concept of numbers. The results of this new research was published inrepparttar 127724 January issue ofrepparttar 127725 Journal of Experimental Psychology.

For this particular study, researchers created computer displays with numbers one, two, three and four using visual objects such as circles, ellipses, squares or diamonds of varying size and color. Three monkeys were then taught to touch each display in numerical order, for example, using a two in ascending order, one in descending order.

Overtime,repparttar 127726 monkeys were trained on some 35 different displays. Assessing their continued progress,repparttar 127727 researchers then testedrepparttar 127728 monkeys on 150 new displays, only to find their performance did not falter.

In order to check their efforts,repparttar 127729 scientists needed to determine whetherrepparttar 127730 monkeys actually understoodrepparttar 127731 relationship betweenrepparttar 127732 numbers. This time,repparttar 127733 monkeys were tested using pairs of numbers they had never seen before--five, six, seven, eight and nine.

The results are quite illuminating as one who knows primates would think they should be. Inrepparttar 127734 first round of testing withrepparttar 127735 higher numbers, both monkeys who had been trained to respond in ascending numerical order arrangedrepparttar 127736 new numbers correctly 75 per cent ofrepparttar 127737 time.

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