Do animals use tools?

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Offline Emilio Romero

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Do animals use tools?
« on: 02/03/2009 23:46:57 »

We’ve seen apes use twigs to catch termites (and eat them), and otters crash a clam against a rock to open it (and eat it).
Does that account as “using tools” to complete a desired task?
Does tool usage require some kind of reasoning?
 [:o]

Emilio

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Offline neilep

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« Reply #1 on: 03/03/2009 00:02:11 »
In my limited opinion I would say that ' yes' they are using tools. Whether an ape or an otter deem the object as a ' tool ' is debateable. They may know that it is a means to an end , in that it helps them gain sustenance ,but I suspect that they do not reason it as so.







« Last Edit: 03/03/2009 00:23:22 by neilep »
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Offline RD

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #2 on: 03/03/2009 00:09:30 »

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Offline Emilio Romero

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #3 on: 03/03/2009 00:19:58 »
But isn’t it intrinsic to the concept of tools a reasoning process that makes us use (to obtain one result) something in a way which is not naturally meant for?

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Offline Emilio Romero

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« Reply #4 on: 03/03/2009 00:22:34 »


WoW!!!
That crow will be driving one of those cars tomorrow... Nice!

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Offline neilep

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« Reply #5 on: 03/03/2009 00:27:44 »
But isn’t it intrinsic to the concept of tools a reasoning process that makes us use (to obtain one result) something in a way which is not naturally meant for?


yes,...yes I think you are right....but I suspect an ape accidentally put a stick in a hole and learned that termites stood on it....and that an otter accidentally learned that a rock crashing against a clam would reveal it's contents.......I'm no expert but I think that you may mean a ' tool ' as something that is used or designed before hand in conclusion to rationale thought in that the use of it will give a result !...I'm not too sure if the otter or ape arrived at the use of their tools by this rationale.
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Offline Don_1

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #6 on: 03/03/2009 08:10:38 »
Man's first tools were simple, an unrefined stick, bone or stone. Our ability to reason gave us the ideas which led to the refinement of these most basic of tools. But it was our exceptionally dexterous hands which gave us the the opportunity to put our ideas into practice.

Other animals find a 'tool' which measures up nearest to the requirement, or in some cases do manipulate the tool to be fit for purpose and even retain a good tool when found. Some animals have been observed stripping a twig of side shoots to make the twig fit for purpose.

Look at these http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwVhrrDvwPM

In this clip, a young crow learns how to use a twig as a tool.

http://dml.cmnh.org/1997Jul/msg00583.html

A short list of some other tool using birds.

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/kids/animals-pets-kids/mammals-kids/chimp-tools-kids.html

Chimps using and learning how to use tools.

http://i.livescience.com/images/050929_gorilla1_02.jpg

This Gorilla is using the stick in it's right hand to test the depth of the water.

There are so many instances of tool use by animals and the passing of knowledge in the selection, adaption and use of tools from one generation to the next, it is hard to discount some degree of reasoning.
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Offline Chemistry4me

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #7 on: 03/03/2009 08:47:33 »
What a tool!

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #8 on: 03/03/2009 13:52:13 »
But isn’t it intrinsic to the concept of tools a reasoning process that makes us use (to obtain one result) something in a way which is not naturally meant for?


yes,...yes I think you are right....but I suspect an ape accidentally put a stick in a hole and learned that termites stood on it....and that an otter accidentally learned that a rock crashing against a clam would reveal it's contents.......I'm no expert but I think that you may mean a ' tool ' as something that is used or designed before hand in conclusion to rationale thought in that the use of it will give a result !...I'm not too sure if the otter or ape arrived at the use of their tools by this rationale.

Good poinrs, Neil. The reasoning process would be to consider what needs to be done (e.g. get the termites out of the hole) and think of how that could be achieved (get a stick to poke in the hole). I have my doubts as to whether that's how it happened.

Far more likely is what you suggest - a stick was stuck in a hole and termites got on it. Ape thought "Oooh, that's handy Harry!" and presto!
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Offline BenV

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #9 on: 03/03/2009 13:54:17 »
But isn’t it intrinsic to the concept of tools a reasoning process that makes us use (to obtain one result) something in a way which is not naturally meant for?


But chimps do adapt sticks to be the best size and shape for termite fishing - that must count as tool making as well as tool use, surely?
« Last Edit: 03/03/2009 14:20:34 by BenV »

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #10 on: 03/03/2009 14:09:05 »
Ben - I don't deny it would count as tool use. I was commenting on how the chimps started using sticks.
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Offline BenV

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #11 on: 03/03/2009 14:22:53 »
Doc - I've edited my above post to better show what I'm responding to... Silly me... Fascinating stuff though, isn't it?  There's also the aspect that tool use in chimps is learned - the youngsters copy their mothers.

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Offline Emilio Romero

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« Reply #12 on: 03/03/2009 14:27:12 »
So they use tools... and they make tools... and they learn how to make them and use them...
Fascinating indeed...

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #13 on: 03/03/2009 14:33:05 »
Doc - I've edited my above post to better show what I'm responding to...

Noted.
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Offline Karsten

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #14 on: 03/03/2009 14:44:40 »
I think what matters is not the tool USE, but the tool CREATION.

On the other hand, this favors those beings that have the physical ability to create a physical object. Hands are handy.

I had a discussion with an engineering student once. He insisted that dolphin could not be intelligent since they did not make anything. I argued against it since I felt that dolphins could not build much since they just did not have hands.

Anyhow, the modification of actual production of customized tools shows in my mind a greater intellectual ability than merely taking something and using it as it. And some animals seem to be able to do that. Humans for instance.  [:)]

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #15 on: 03/03/2009 14:56:11 »
Quote
Anyhow, the modification of actual production of customized tools shows in my mind a greater intellectual ability than merely taking something and using it

I agree up to a point - but making tools is not a measure of intellect per se.

Claude E. Shannon's Information Theory equates complexity of language/communication to intelligence. The more complex the language a species uses, the greater its intelligence. After analysing the language of a number of species he has concluded that the most complex is not human language but that employed by humpback whales. Their brain is also 2.5 times the size of a human brain and contains neurons which were previously only thought to be present in Great Apes.

It is quite possible, then, that humpbacks are the most intelligent creatures on Earth, but they neither use nor make tools.
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Offline Emilio Romero

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Do animals use tools?
« Reply #16 on: 03/03/2009 18:48:29 »
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Anyhow, the modification of actual production of customized tools shows in my mind a greater intellectual ability than merely taking something and using it

I agree up to a point - but making tools is not a measure of intellect per se.

Claude E. Shannon's Information Theory equates complexity of language/communication to intelligence. The more complex the language a species uses, the greater its intelligence. After analysing the language of a number of species he has concluded that the most complex is not human language but that employed by humpback whales. Their brain is also 2.5 times the size of a human brain and contains neurons which were previously only thought to be present in Great Apes.

It is quite possible, then, that humpbacks are the most intelligent creatures on Earth, but they neither use nor make tools.



But perhaps having the intelligence doesn’t necessarily mean having the ability...
If they may be the most intelligent creatures on earth... why is it that humans are the most advanced?


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Offline neilep

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« Reply #17 on: 03/03/2009 20:09:58 »
I'm not too sure if this helps but this is my cat Deano ringing his broker after using the callipers to get an idea of how much his claw covers (made form gold) are worth !


[attachment=7328]

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #18 on: 03/03/2009 20:56:51 »
Emilio - Humpbacks are not technologically advanced. Not having hands makes using tools etc. a bit difficult. But is a species' technology the only measure of how advanced it is? Humpbacks seem to be fairly advanced societally and they communicate with one another over hundreds of miles without technological aids. That's something humans cannot do.

I don't recall ever hearing of humpbacks fighting each other. That makes them fairly unique as a species and indicates what I would consider an advanced trait.
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Offline RD

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« Reply #19 on: 03/03/2009 21:07:12 »
As usual males fight over females ...

Quote
Often there are several male humpback whales around one female which fight aggressively for access to the cow. The males hit each other with their flukes, they slap the water surface with their flippers and tails and release streams of bubbles from their blow holes.
http://www.whale-info.com/Humpbackwhales.html


[Dolphins can be violent too ... http://www.abdn.ac.uk/lighthouse/documents/infanticide.pdf]

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #20 on: 03/03/2009 21:14:37 »
Fighting over females is common to just about every species - including humans. I was referring to casual combat, combat over territory, etc..
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Offline RD

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« Reply #21 on: 03/03/2009 22:12:39 »
« Last Edit: 03/03/2009 22:15:57 by RD »

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #22 on: 03/03/2009 22:23:07 »
hehe, that dog is brilliant!  [:D]
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Offline Emilio Romero

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« Reply #23 on: 03/03/2009 22:42:36 »
You make a very interesting point Doctor...
Thank you

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #24 on: 03/03/2009 23:14:25 »
You're most welcome. I think I must have had my sensible head on  [:D]
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Offline Karsten

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« Reply #25 on: 03/03/2009 23:14:35 »
And there are supposed to be 9 intelligences. More soon, I am sure. Humpback whales may not do well in the same categories than humans. And vice versa.
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Offline Emilio Romero

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« Reply #26 on: 04/03/2009 17:33:33 »
DoctorB...
Speaking from a hypothetical evolutionary standpoint, do you think that if whales (or any other animal) had developed hands they will be more advanced?
If hands were the ultimate evolutionary necessity, wouldn’t every species eventually evolve to have hands?


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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #27 on: 04/03/2009 18:18:41 »
I don't believe that hands are an evolutionary necessity. Claws are much more useful for a predator such as a lion. Humans and other apes are descended from tree-dwelling animals for whom hands would greatly assist their ability to climb and grasp.

As for humpbacks developing hands; would hands be that useful for an aquatic creature? Surely, flippers that enable it to swim and manouevre better in the water would be far better. What use would a humpback have for hands for them to evolve?
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Offline Don_1

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« Reply #28 on: 05/03/2009 08:50:36 »
Our hands have given us the opportunity to put many of our ideas into practice. Without them, we would probably not be the same animal as we are today. In my estimation, they are the most important development in man which sets us apart from other animals. While other species can and do utilise rudimentary tools to great effect, none have produced such sophisticated tools as man.

But I have to concur with Doctor Beaver, what use would hands, such as ours, be to a Tiger or Whale? The fact is, they would be an immense draw-back. Perhaps, rather than asking 'Do animals use tools?' the question should be looked at from a different perspective. Perhaps the question should be 'What use are tools to animals?'

Would Dolphins have benefited from inventing flipper friendly tools such as a saw, screwdriver and soldering iron? Only if they wanted to invent a means to produce a long distance communication device which would also double as means to find and herd fish to make them easier to catch. This they did need, but their answer to this problem was to develop a built-in tool. Their clicks can be used for short or long distance communication, as an echo locating device and as a weapon to herd and even stun their prey. One built-in tool with many uses. Man had to develop cumbersome drums to communicate over such distances, telescopes, radar and sonar to locate objectives over such distances and in sometimes poor visibility. We had to enrol the assistance of dogs and horses to help us herd even our farmed livestock and the spear, bow & arrow, fishing net and finally the gun to kill them so we can eat them.

I think the Dolphin’s solution was far superior to man’s. And the Dolphin is not alone in developing built-in tools. Claws, beaks, pincers, teeth, jaws, trunks, horns, antlers, stings...... are these not built-in tools, each adapted for their own individual purpose? Each suited to a particular way of life?
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Offline RD

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« Reply #29 on: 11/03/2009 04:23:21 »
Quote
A chimpanzee who collected a stash of rocks and hurled them at zoo visitors in fits of rage has confirmed apes can plan ahead just like humans, experts say. The 31-year-old alpha male began building his weapons cache in the morning before the zoo opened, collecting rocks and knocking out discs from concrete boulders in his enclosure.

Then at midday he would unleash a "hailstorm" of rocks at visitors, the Swedish study found.

Seemingly at ease with his position as leader of the group, Santino did not attack the other chimpanzees.
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20090310/twl-rock-chucking-chimp-proves-apes-plan-3fd0ae9.html

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Offline Astronomer_FB

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« Reply #30 on: 11/03/2009 05:44:52 »
I saw one time a chipmunk grab a twig with two hands and then hit another one across the head with it then they both ran it was awseome and really funny!

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Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #31 on: 11/03/2009 06:02:28 »
The Chimpanzee at the zoo here has passed on now but when I was small girl he would huck poop at The kids that mocked him or teased him!

"Life is not measured by the number of Breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

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Offline Astronomer_FB

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« Reply #32 on: 11/03/2009 06:04:44 »
The Chimpanzee at the zoo here has passed on now but when I was small girl he would huck poop at The kids that mocked him or teased him!
lol my brother was calling the birds smelly in the toledo zoo when he was younger and then wham 3 birds left a "LOAD" on him right after he said it lol

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Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #33 on: 11/03/2009 06:47:00 »
LOL...I was bombarded by a whole flock of birds who had been eating local berries but they flew over me like black death a huge shadow shading the sun and they all dropped their loads on me at the same time.. like planned attack from the bowels bombarded me on my way to my brothers wedding in my pink floral gown.... We had to go back wash it and dry it before he could start his wedding... Was horrible!

Anyway does that qualify as a tool..

Gorillas use sticks to dig for ants in ant hills etc..

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #34 on: 11/03/2009 10:21:49 »
Gorillas use sticks to dig for ants in ant hills etc..

Liar liar pants on fire!

Grillas ar vejiterian.
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Offline Don_1

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« Reply #35 on: 11/03/2009 10:24:55 »
Gorillas use sticks to dig for ants in ant hills etc..

Liar liar pants on fire!

Grillas ar vejiterian.

They don't eat them, they just like annoying them!
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Offline Emilio Romero

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« Reply #36 on: 11/03/2009 13:53:51 »
More tools..... This time the are involved in the process of making them!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSgLQ4yI6dI


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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #37 on: 11/03/2009 14:07:08 »
Gorillas use sticks to dig for ants in ant hills etc..

Liar liar pants on fire!

Grillas ar vejiterian.

They don't eat them, they just like annoying them!

Ah, that could explain it. Naughty, aggravating grillas!

« Last Edit: 11/03/2009 14:08:53 by DoctorBeaver »
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Offline Don_1

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« Reply #38 on: 11/03/2009 14:21:46 »
I like grillas, here's a nice one.


And here's a lovely water otter
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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #39 on: 11/03/2009 14:24:15 »
I like grillas, here's a nice one.


Is that the foreman or just a chargehand?
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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #40 on: 11/03/2009 14:27:08 »
We've buggered this thread now. Is there no end to our malice!
« Last Edit: 11/03/2009 14:29:23 by DoctorBeaver »
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Offline Don_1

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« Reply #41 on: 11/03/2009 14:42:20 »
I like grillas, here's a nice one.


Is that the foreman or just a chargehand?

No, this is the chargehand, and just look at how much it's been charged!!!
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Offline Don_1

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« Reply #42 on: 11/03/2009 15:07:04 »
We've buggered this thread now. Is there no end to our malice!

How odd, I was just thinking the same and looking to see who started the silliness. Not sure if was Neil, RD or some Beaver. Shame, it started as a good, serious thread but degenerated into the usual claptrap. Ah well! C'est la vie.
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Offline damiri

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« Reply #43 on: 11/03/2009 16:10:38 »
Hey everyone; yes animals use tools, to answer the first post.

Chimps use sticks to dig out termites and also sharpen sticks to hunt bush babies to eat. They also use rocks to open nuts and eat them.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/04/chimps-with-spears/mary-roach-text

http://www.bioedonline.org/news/news.cfm?art=3134


I am sure there are more examples.
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Offline Emilio Romero

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« Reply #44 on: 11/03/2009 17:49:37 »
We've buggered this thread now. Is there no end to our malice!

naaaaa, you just made it more fun... the science is still there...  ;-)


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Offline JnA

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« Reply #46 on: 27/05/2009 04:08:40 »
I haven't read the whole thread but I hope someone has mentioned the elephants..