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Ducklings Are Capable Of Abstract Thoughts, Can Distinguish 'Same' From 'Different,' Oxford Study Finds

(International Business Times) The ability to deal with abstract concepts, including patterns of “same” and “different,” is not uniquely human. With extensive training, even animals are capable of demonstrating the same. But, results of a new study show that the newly hatched ducklings can be so smart that they can make a distinction between "same" and "different" — without any training.
As part of the study, … professor Alex Kacelnik of the University of Oxford and his student Antone Martinho III performed a behavioral test with ducklings that can quickly learn the traits of their mothers within hours of hatching — a process known as imprinting. The researchers found that the newly hatched mallards can do more than we thought they could.
“In a way, imprinting appears to be simple," the Atlantic quoted Kacelnik as saying. “But it’s extremely complex because mum is an extremely complex collection of properties. So what is it that a young animal stores in its brain to recognize the identity of its mother?”
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