13 Fascinating Facts About Animal Cognition

Contributed by 5th Grade Science teacher Jessica Clingman

Did you know that animals can think? Jessica Clingman's 5th Grade Science class has been learning about animal cognition and they have some fascinating facts to share with you!

  1. "Dolphins can read signs that have an action on it. The dolphin reads the sign and does the action." - William Rue
  2. "Wood turtles stomp on the ground to attract worms." - Olivia Lumba
  3. "Ravens hold funerals for the dead". - Neya Srinivasan
  4. "When they are walking, they arrange themselves in the most protective way. The male monkeys are in the front, back and the females and their babies are in the middle." - Sydney Streeper
  5. "Humans think that piranhas communicate with radio signals because studies show that piranhas have a great sense of hearing." - Yuvraj Manchanda
  6. "Ostriches copy the elders' moves. So if an elder is sprinting at 45 mph, then the younger ostrich will also run." - Grace Law
  7. "Narwhals live in packs of 15-20, though they could go up to thousands. They hunt in their groups and have rituals together." - Shreya Munjal
  8. "If a baby dolphin swims away too often, it's mother may trap it underwater for a few seconds without letting it breathe as a punishment." -Sahana Jha
  9. "Komodo Dragons surprise their prey by jumping out of their hiding spot and give a powerful bite. If the animal gets away, the venomous saliva will start to weaken the animal while the Komodo dragon stalks it. It waits until it's prey can't walk anymore and then the Komodo Dragon can feast." - Jack Dowling
  10. "At night, Humboldt squids meet up with other squids to form hunting groups so they can get more food." - Eddie Letko
  11. "One of the first things a sea otter pup learns is how to use a stone for cracking open their hard-shelled food. They always carry a stone tucked under their armpit." - Talia Berkman
  12. "If you don't interact with your cat, they will think, "If you don't greet me, why should I respond?" Cats hold grudges." - Zarna Kalra
  13. "In the winter in order for penguins to survive they make a huddle. They always put the chicks in the middle and the adults take turns being on the outside." - Blair Bartlett

Inspired by their studies, the students decided to host a bake sale to raise money and awareness for Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary. Did you know that chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than any other species? Chimp Haven was founded in 1995 in order to respond to the need for long-term care for those chimps no longer used in biomedical research, the entertainment industry or the pet trade. In 2013, the USA made it illegal to use chimpanzees in research and retired all chimpanzees that were currently being used. Chimp Haven currently houses over 200 chimps, but over 300 more are waiting to retire there.

In preparation for the sale, the 5th Grade gave presentations to Upper and Middle School students that included some of the fun facts above, as well as many others. They also created flyers, baked the treats for the sale, and conducted the business all by themselves. Their hard work paid off: they were able to raise $950 for Chimp Haven. But that's not all! Throughout the month of December, all money donated to Chimp Haven is being matched up to $50,000, which means their contribution will actually result in Chimp Haven receiving $1,900!

If you want to learn more about animal cognition, check out the students' posters located outside of the Middle School office.

Images: 5th grade students at the bake sale. 5th Graders delivering presentation on animal cognition to US students. 5th grade student collected money at bake sale. 5th grade animal cognition posters by Victoria Sichel and Eddie Letko.


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