New Exhibition on Animal Cognition Premieres at the New York Hall of Science –
Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think Open Through January 15
Using a variety of videos, games and displays, Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think explores the evolutionary and cognitive links that humans share with animals. The new exhibition premieres October 1 at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) and the Staten Island Zoo, and will tour the country with stops planned in Oregon, California, Indiana and Ohio.
At each stop along the national tour, exhibit elements and programs will be displayed at a science center and partnering zoo. For the New York premiere, exhibits will be on view at both the New York Hall of Science and the Staten Island Zoo.
Wild Minds exhibits at NYSCI include:
Is This Thinking? – Using a large, touch screen monitor, weigh in on whether the animal behaviors you observe (via video clips) are hard-wired or require "thinking." After recording your opinions, you can hear what scientists think the behavior demonstrates.
Wild Minds at the Zoo – A video display that tells the story of zoo enrichment programs showing how zoo animals are provided with ways to exercise their brains.
Brain Power – A display of five plastinated brains from a parrot, dog, chimpanzee, dolphin and a human allows a comparison of human and animal brains by size and complexity.
Get-the-Peanut Experiment –Think about how you would get the peanut out of the tube. Then, view a video of children and apes taking this challenge.
Birds with Big Brains – Consider how you would get a piece of meat (lodged in a small basket) out of a tube, using only a straight piece of wire. This is the same experiment originally solved by Betty the Crow.
Remembering Numbers at a Glance –Take the same numbers and spatial memory test posed to a chimpanzee and see how you compare.
Learning Colors, Shapes and Numbers – Learn about Alex, the famous African gray parrot known for his skill at cognitive challenges.
Is That Me I See? – Watch a video showing dolphins examining themselves in front of a mirror. Do they recognize themselves?
The Thinking Octopus – After watching a video of a mimic octopus (a species of octopus with a strong ability to mimic other creatures), try to guess the type of poisonous animal being mimicked.
Mimicking Sounds for the Environment – After watching a short clip about the lyrebird, try to determine the sounds being mimicked by the bird.
What Dogs Want – Listen to a variety of barks and try to figure out what the dog is communicating.
As a complement to Wild Minds, NYSCI will offer a sheep brain dissection demonstration. Visitors can get a close-up view of a sheep brain and learn the similarities and differences between the brains of sheep, humans and other animals. The free demonstrations will take place from Tuesday – Friday at 10:30 am and on weekends at 4 pm.
Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think will be on exhibit at NYSCI through January 15, 2012 and is free with general museum admission.
Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think – Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Wild Minds is a project led by the New York Hall of Science in partnership with the Staten Island Zoo, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Oregon Zoo, the California Science Center, Santa Barbara Zoo, Science Central, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, COSI (Center of Science and Industry), and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.