I think that lesser than ape animals do learn and can be taught, but the examples you give do not seem to me to be only learning from watching or pure teaching without concurent practice. (Trial and error learning.) For example, for a cat to learn by watching instead of practice in killing prey, I would need to have data showing that a cat which has been shown many movies of other experienced cats killing prey performs well on its first try. Yes dog learn where food is kept, what sounds precede its owner returning from day at work, etc. but this is what I would call "correlation" learning. Most dogs are not very visually oriented to the world - their world is more one of odors as far as I can tell. It is hard to know that birds learn from watching. For example, the Baltimore Oriel makes a very distinct hanging nest. Some Baltimore Oriel eggs were transported to large aviary cage in Florida, as I recall, where none are naturally found and raised with dozens of other species in that cage. When they mated and made their nest, they were the standard hanging nest of the Baltimore Oriel, not like any they have seen. (Obviously they did not learn from watching.) How do you know that the birds you claim learned from watching really did learn only from watching? (Instead of just followed the instincts of their species or learned by trial and error?) I am not saying that only Apes (man being one) can learn from watching, but I do think that true, until given some evidence that can not be explained otherwise. PS I added footnote *** by edit to my prior post, probably while you were posting. It seems to indicate dogs have zero ability to learn from watching alone. The octopi are quite smart, I think. If the colored boxes were outside the tank (no odor clues) and it reached over tank wall to get the correct color coded food box after only watching another, I would agree that octopi also can learn only by watching. (Provided also it is known that they even have color vision. As I recall cats* see only in black and white - not uncommon for nocturnal hunters as rods are more sensitive than cones. Octopi live in a dim light enviroment so I doubt they even have color vision, but I am just guessing. I know they have relatively large eyes to collect a lot of light,with a more intellignet design than human eyes. I.e. their retina is in front of the nerve net and blood vessels, not behind them as in humans. -If there is an ID, He was more concerned to do the eyes of octopi more intelligently than human eyes) ---------------- *Cats have a reflective layer behind the retina. The light that is not absorbed scatters off it to give a second chance to activate the rods before passing back out of the lense in the general direction of the light source. (Why cat's eyes shine in the dark for people near the flashlight shinning into their eyes.) This scattering back of light lowers their visual resolution, but is worth it for night hunting. Humans, in contrast have a black layer behind the retina, to avoid loss of resolution. Humans hunted during the day, more than at night when there was plenty of light and resolution was more useful. I bet octopi eyes also shine if a diver has a flash light beam on them.