Saturday, November 11, 2006

Maybe they should call them "Womenatees"

"Hey, I'm smarter than I look!"

Manatees May Be Smarter Than We Think
The Associated Press (AP) has found new information on manatees, you know, the big hippos of the sea? Since the early 1900s, one particulary mean scientist examining the small brain of a manatee compared the manatee's brain to that of an "idiot's brain." This remark set the stage for a general disdain for the intelligence of manatees, who, according to AP, "have generally been considered incapable of doing anything more complicated than chewing sea grass."

But there's a manatee in a Florida marine laboratory who's sharper than he looks. When a buzzer sounds, Hugh, a stocky 1,300 pound manatee mammal noses one of eight loudspeakers placed in the water. If he noses the correct speaker, he gets a treat. You might say he has a nose for music.
According to lab personnel, Hugh is no smarter than the average manatee. This experiment, along with other recent studies, are revealing that sea cows may not be as dumb as they look.
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All kidding aside, the West Indian Manatee has no natural enemies (except humans, and I'm not sure how natural we are). They can live to be 60 years old but they are endangered, however, mainly due to entanglements with fishing enterprises.
Currently, there are only about 3,000 in the U.S. They are protected here by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which make it illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.
Just as female intelligence has been underestimated for years, it's now confirmed that our brains have larger corpus callosum. The corpus callosum is the interchange that links the right and left hemispheres, which probably makes us stronger communicators. Man smart, woman smarter?

2 comments:

woof said...

I think you''ve reached an all time low.

twodogsblogging said...

You say that like it's a bad thing!