Animal Psychology: How Squirrels Learn to Steal

Scientists interested in the ability of gray squirrels learn from watching other squirrels have come up with an ingenious (albeit a bit iffy from a moral perspective) study: teaching 'em to steal!

The study suggests that squirrels are primed to recognise other squirrels as potential food thieves. It also shows that they learn more quickly from real life observations.

Corresponding author Dr Lisa Leaver of the University of Exeter, said: "Our study is significant because it is the first to show that grey squirrels learn from observing others. It adds to growing evidence that all kinds of animals, from humans and other primates to many species of birds, learn from observation and that they have evolved to learn quickly about those things that are most important to their lives – in the case of grey squirrels, gathering and storing nuts."


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by coconutnut.

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I'll believe that it's stealing when the animals start hiring squirrel lawyers to start arguing that it's not stealing when they do it to each other here.
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Stealing implies a notion of the concepts of good and bad, mine and yours.
Do animals have such notions?

What I wonder is how far this abiliy goes- Waht makes that the ability to learn new tricks is there and what makes that some abilities at some point simply are out of reach?
Do squirrels or apes or birds or humans or whatever get more intelligent over the generations of learning? Do they really amass knowledge, or is there some finite level of being able to keep abilities learned?
Most of us humans at some point in age seem to somehow think that the need to learn is not there anymore. But by what factor(s) is that point defined?
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