Being Blessed With These Gifts

Not only there are amazing things within the design of animals but humans have incredible gifts. Some interesting research on Amazon tribes people been published. They were known in the early 1770s for raiding Portuguese settlements along the Amazon. In response, the governor of Pará sent a military expedition which used guns, as a result, the military soundly defeated the Mundurucu, who fought only with bows and arrows. The Mundurucu learned to tap and cure rubber latex and became part of the patronage system that controlled the rubber trade.

But there is one amazing thing discovered with these tribesmen in the amazon. The Mundurucu have an understanding of Euclidean geometry, without ever learning it at school! In the BBC Jason Palmer reported…

“Tests given to an Amazonian tribe called the Mundurucu suggest that our intuitions about geometry are innate. Researchers examined how the Mundurucu think about lines, points and angles, comparing the results with equivalent tests on French and US schoolchildren. The Mundurucu showed comparable understanding, and even outperformed the students on tasks that asked about forms on spherical surfaces.”

“The Mundurucu people’s responses to the questions were roughly as accurate as those of the French and US respondents; they seemed to have an intuition about lines and geometric shapes without formal education or even the relevant words.”

This is the year for people whom I know are having babies, so it seems even more fitting that I cover this topic! One of the things that is turning up about them in research is that babies are showing more cleverness than previous thought. Live Science has a whole list of them…

“As early as 10 months of age, babies figure out that might makes right. When shown scenes of big and small cartoon blocks interacting, infants stare longer (indicating more surprise) when the big one yields the right-of-way to the small one than they do when the small one is subservient. The finding, published in January 2011 in the journal Science, suggest that babies understand social hierarchies and know that size can determine who’s in charge. The results suggest that the blueprints of social interaction are built into the human brain.”

“Even before they can say more than “mama” and “dada,” babies can decipher emotions … of dogs…While your infant still might not speak, he or she likely knows when you’re feeling down. As young as 5 months of age, babies can accurately pick out an upbeat tune from a gloomy one, according to a study published in 2010 in the journal Neuron.”

“Babies can apparently learn even while asleep, according to a 2010 study. In experiments with 26 sleeping infants, each just 1 to 2 days old, scientists played a musical tone followed by a puff of air to their eyes 200 times over the course of a half-hour. A network of 124 electrodes stuck on the scalp and face of each baby also recorded brain activity during the experiments. The babies rapidly learned to anticipate a puff of air upon hearing the tone, showing a fourfold increase on average in the chances of tightening their eyelids in response to the sound by the end of each session.”

“In a 2007 study published in the journal Science, researchers had 36 infants watch silent videos of three bilingual French-English speakers reciting sentences. After being trained to become comfortable with a speaker reciting a sentence in one language, babies ages 4 months and 6 months spent more time looking at a speaker reciting a sentence in a different language —demonstrating that they could tell the difference between the two.”

A study in Science called, “Pure Reasoning in 12-Month-Old Infants as Probabilistic Inference”, the abstract says…“Many organisms can predict future events from the statistics of past experience, but humans also excel at making predictions by pure reasoning: integrating multiple sources of information, guided by abstract knowledge, to form rational expectations about novel situations, never directly experienced. 

“Here, we show that this reasoning is surprisingly rich, powerful, and coherent even in preverbal infants.  When 12-month-old infants view complex displays of multiple moving objects, they form time-varying expectations about future events that are a systematic and rational function of several stimulus variables.

Some animals are great swimmers, but humans design boats, engines, and submarines. Birds of prey are great at flying but humans design jets, rockets, and satellites. Certain animals can make gestures, some birds can talk, but humans are able to reason. Humans are blessed with gifts that are far beyond what animals have and they too are amazing themselves!