12
kiki
33d

My cat's brain is powerful enough to calculate and apply the exact physics of a long jump, with ballistics, flight aerodynamics, dynamic weight distribution using tail as stabilizer, all of that, and land a jump every time without failure.

Yet, it's not powerful enough to realize that can just walk straight through a slightly opened door using her body as a wedge. Or, she can just, you know, push the door open with her paw. When presented with an everyday task that involves physics, she acts like she's nothing but an ethereal ghost and fails miserably.

This makes me think that her jump computer is a very old hardwired part inherited from frogs, honed by evolution and compiled into wetware millions of years ago. Like an ancient analog computer that works flawlessly every time. She has no conscious access to its inner workings. She can use it, sure, but she doesn't understand it.

I wonder how many such parts do us humans posses.

Comments
  • 2
    Cats don't like going into places that are smaller than their whisker width. If you cut off their whiskers they can get stuck in things.
  • 4
    well, compared to other species, humans are incredibly good at throwing without thinking about it.
  • 0
    I think cats can also tell when something has changed in their vision over a long period of time. This allows them to see prey that has frozen twitch over a few minutes. I think a human can learn this, but cats are built for this.
  • 4
    I mean, it's not like they're particularly good at solving quadratic equations, so it ought to be a hardwired ability
  • 5
    Cats don‘t do physics calculations. The precise jumps are a mix of training and instincts, passed by genes via evolution.

    This might sound like I‘m smart-assing but it actually explains the fallacy in your observation and conclusion.
  • 1
    it makes me wonder though; as a cat matures, the -b±sqrt(b²-4ac) ÷ 2a in their head has to be calibrated to the actual specimen's body. Since these numbers are weighted against gravity to produce instinctive notions of things like "too far", wouldn't this also be a convenient coefficient for how scared this particular cat should be of an opponent of unknown size rustling in the undergrowth?
  • 0
    @Lensflare I think the point is a robotic system would require all that to approximate the same solution. Or a neural net would require a lot of training. For the cat some of it is genetic, and some is learned.
  • 2
    I mean, when you account for all the redundancy, genomes aren't actually very big for how much they describe. I would expect nature to aggressively compress information whenever possible.
  • 2
    my cat fails all the time (well, I do mess with her) and cats fail sometimes and it's funny

    also yeah they don't do physics

    they just tried jumping with various strengths as kittens til they got it. the tail helps, because they can use it to adjust as they fly. which is why their tail go Cray Cray when they fail the jump, tehe
  • 0
    @lorentz Have you ever asked one?
  • 2
    Nueral net ability to learn and encode algorithems as observed in Cat Being Able To jump.

    You can also teach the cat to open doors. From personal experience: Don't.
  • 5
    I'm now imagining a long line of sedated cats wired up to some kind of dystopian brain electrodes, being used to perform physics calculations, like a stack of GPUs mining bitcoins.
  • 3
    @donkulator they do that sometimes but with STEM cells cloned from human cancer lines
  • 1
    @Demolishun that's amazing. I have a lot of cats here with whiskers in all shapes and sizes. Hmm

    @kiki do you know that catculations reddit?
  • 2
    @retoor I watched a nature show some 20 to 30 years ago about cats. It really neat.
  • 1
    @Demolishun 30 years ago I was playing with duplo. Very neat too
  • 1
    @retoor I will only worry if you ate tide pods.
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