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Thread: Whale concept of time

  1. #1 Whale concept of time 
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    Do whales have an intelligent concept of time?
    Im not talking about the instinctual migratory patterns or when mateing season is.

    Im talking about counting days or some other fraction of a year, like moon cycles, or fractions of days, like a whale equivalent of a human hour.

    Or what about feeding patterns like counting fish or even basic mathematics

    they have huge brains so they could have the potential to do math or have a (non-instinctual) mental clock right?

    Imagine what kind of dreams they might have with such large brains...


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I heard a blue whale solved the Goldbach Conjecture last year by himself and then had to laugh because the solution was so simple.


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  4. #3  
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    When I swam with dolphins on a recent vacation (I know, pretty immoral, but I couldn't resist) I saw intelligence in their eyes when they gazed back at me.

    And I am pretty dam sure I'm not anthropormophizing them, given my degree is Psychology.
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  5. #4 Re: Whale concept of time 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon not Ron
    Do whales have an intelligent concept of time?
    Whales swim in time not space. The greater part of their brains is given to echolocation, which is the time taken for a sound to travel back. A sound itself is vibration i.e. time. When they dive, the issue is how long, not how far. How long away is something. And of course they migrate to catch favorable conditions at the right time. So it's a fair bet whales experience the world as time just as bloodhounds experience the world as scent.

    If whales think about anything, it'd be in terms of time.


    Whales dream unusually. Because they can't ever fall asleep completely (they need to think about breathing) they appear to sleep and dream with one brain hemisphere at a time.

    That also means whales function wakefully with one hemisphere, so they must have plenty of hemispherical redundency. Then when both hemispheres are awake, they'd have a surplus.
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  6. #5 probably not 
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    My answer to you is: probably not.
    They do have huge brains but size alone does not matter. It's the structure and how you use it that matters.
    Whales also have complicated brains, not just huge. However, they use their fine machinery for things like orienting themselves, migrating etc. For them being able to count days is not a benefit like it is to us humans.
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  7. #6 Re: probably not 
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommi123
    For them being able to count days is not a benefit like it is to us humans.
    True, but moving with the rhythm of tides must be very advantageous in restricted waterways, like around Denmark, etc. For human analogy, imagine navigating a shopping mall, where each escalator alternately goes up or down, every few minutes. You'd do well to pace and plan your shopping in anticipation of those switches.

    I'm not suggesting whales do arithmetic. To their perspective "trip planning" is probably more like slow... er, elevator music.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  8. #7 Re: probably not 
    Forum Freshman Jake Boyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by tommi123
    For them being able to count days is not a benefit like it is to us humans.
    True, but moving with the rhythm of tides must be very advantageous in restricted waterways, like around Denmark, etc. For human analogy, imagine navigating a shopping mall, where each escalator alternately goes up or down, every few minutes. You'd do well to pace and plan your shopping in anticipation of those switches.

    I'm not suggesting whales do arithmetic. To their perspective "trip planning" is probably more like slow... er, elevator music.
    Wow. This thread is great and this post is the greatest.

    Two alternately dreaming hemispheres and elevator music time?

    I'm just floating here, marveling.
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  9. #8  
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    Sorry for going abit offtopic but...

    Quote Originally Posted by C_Sensei
    When I swam with dolphins on a recent vacation (I know, pretty immoral, but I couldn't resist) I saw intelligence in their eyes when they gazed back at me.
    Could you educate me on why it would be immoral in any way to swim with dolphins? *Confused*
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  10. #9 Re: probably not 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommi123
    My answer to you is: probably not.
    They do have huge brains but size alone does not matter. It's the structure and how you use it that matters.
    Whales also have complicated brains, not just huge. However, they use their fine machinery for things like orienting themselves, migrating etc. For them being able to count days is not a benefit like it is to us humans.
    How many humans you know count days?

    Most people use a calendar.
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  11. #10 Re: probably not 
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Most people use a calendar.
    unless you use a computer

    Code:
    datediff(dy,getdate(),convert(datetime,'25/12/2009',103))
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  12. #11  
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    Sorry it took a few days to reply Raz - it's immoral to swim with them in an enclosure because they are trapped and removed from the wild for this capitalist purpose.

    I knew that paying to swim with them only encouraged this slavery of another intelligent species. But I went ahead and selfishly did it anyways, justifying to myself that the action would continue whether I participated or not. But that is hardly correct. The right choice to make would be, at the very least, to refuse to support such slavery.

    So I swam with them. Saw the intelligence and much fuller awareness than a dog has...they come slowly towards each swimmer, with their heads above the water, looking you fully in your eyes. They can have binocular eye contact from a bit of a distance away.

    I would like to know how well they can see above water. If they can distinguish my eye visually from 20 feet in.....

    It sure looked that way to me.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_Sensei
    Sorry it took a few days to reply Raz - it's immoral to swim with them in an enclosure because they are trapped and removed from the wild for this capitalist purpose.

    I knew that paying to swim with them only encouraged this slavery of another intelligent species. But I went ahead and selfishly did it anyways, justifying to myself that the action would continue whether I participated or not. But that is hardly correct. The right choice to make would be, at the very least, to refuse to support such slavery.

    So I swam with them. Saw the intelligence and much fuller awareness than a dog has...they come slowly towards each swimmer, with their heads above the water, looking you fully in your eyes. They can have binocular eye contact from a bit of a distance away.

    I would like to know how well they can see above water. If they can distinguish my eye visually from 20 feet in.....

    It sure looked that way to me.
    I thought you swam with dolphins in the "wild" when diving or something similar. I can understand why its considered immoral when people captivate them as you say just to "have fun" with them.

    There is a difference if you genuinely care for them and respect their intelligence and play with them on this basis, but i guess they are captives none the less even with "good motives" and the slavery part dont change.

    I too have great respect for them, i just didnt know the captivity part was that common.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I swam with a herd of humans once.

    You could see the intelligence in their eyes.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I swam with a herd of humans once.

    You could see the intelligence in their eyes.
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  16. #15  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I swam with a herd of humans once.

    You could see the intelligence in their eyes.
    What a rare sight! Did you take pictures?
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  17. #16  
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    Whales sense of time consists of the sea getting warmer and colder

    thus when a whale urinates in the sea all the other whales lose track of time
    It's not how many questions you ask, but the answers you get - Booms

    This is the Acadamy of Science! we don't need to 'prove' anything!
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