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SRS TaN en ne ant aN A ete hires catty ene pa se el For corrections and clarifications,

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Tanjung Puting National Park, Borneo

Keep an eye on your vessel when Princess the orangutan is around. The boat-napping buccaneer steals canoes from the dock at Camp Leakey, the orangutan research station where she lives. Princess takes the boats so she can get to the tasty plants that grow downstream. But this sneaky great ape may have another motive: “If people are around, sometimes she does it to show off,’ says scientist Biruté Mary Galdikas, Camp Leakey’s orangutan expert.

Princess rides can be a royal pain for camp workers, who must retrieve the canoes she abandons. To discourage her, they store the canoes underwater. But Princess Simply tips the boats from side to side until the water sloshes out.

All primates are intelligent, but Princess is especially brainy. “I'd say she’s one of the smartest orangutans I've ever seen in my life,’ Galdikas says. Even when Princess is on shore, she eats like a queen: She figured out how to use a key to unlock the

SEAL Lisianski Island, Hawaii

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This Special Supersmart Issue is here to help boost your brainpower. The next 1M oyele (oes eM eol ATOM LAD clever critters, 10 crazy questions you definitely need to know the answers to, and behind-the-scenes secrets from smart Nat Geo explorers. Plus find out more about Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad: Absolute Hero, a new book about five brainy buds starting middle school together.

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STEVESTONE / GETTY IMAGES (BOY WITH BOOK); ANTON_IVANOV / SHUTTERSTOCK (HOWLER MONKEY); SEBASTIAN KENNERKNECHT / MINDEN PICTURES (SEA OTTER); SUMIRE8 / SHUTTERSTOCK (BEAKERS); ANDREAS POERTNER / SHUTTERSTOCK (RAIN BOOTS); STEPHEN MCSWEENY / SHUT- TERSTOCK (POPCORN); NO_LIMIT_PICTURES / GETTY IMAGES (COOKIES); SASHKIN / SHUTTERSTOCK (CAM- ERA); SHVAYGERT EKATERINA / SHUTTERSTOCK (CAT); AVIGATOR FORTUNER / SHUTTERSTOCK (TAIPEI); OTSPHOTO / SHUTTERSTOCK (DOG); STEFANIEDE- SIGN / GETTY IMAGES (AUCKLAND); SLP_LLONDON / SHUTTERSTOCK (EXTRA EYE); LUNAMARINA / SHUT- TERSTOCK (SUPERSMELL); KICHIGIN / SHUTTERSTOCK (ICE); BEGUN1983 / SHUTTERSTOCK (WATCH); SORA- NOME / SHUTTERSTOCK (ELEPHANT); JERONIMO CONTRERAS / ADOBE STOCK (PORCUPINE); KEVIN SCHAFER / GETTY IMAGES (HARP SEAL); SIMONE HOGAN / SHUTTERSTOCK (SNEAKERS); POGONICI / ISTOCK (BACKPACK, IMAGE DIGITALLY COMPOSED); GENEVA BOWERS (IZZY ILLUSTRATIONS)

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NAT GEO KIDS

These smart critters will surprise you. BY ALINE ALEXANDER NEWMAN

Chickens are dumb. If there were an intelligence ladder, they'd be perched near the bottom. Foxes would sit on a rung higher than turtles. And chimps would outrank all animals except humans—who rule from the top.

At least that’s how scientists used to think. But that thinking has changed. Why? Because no one can design an intelligence test that’s fair for all creatures. Two-handed chimps can learn sign language. But robins can't—they only have wings. Goldfish would fail at tree climbing but earn Ass in swimming. “I really don’t make cross-species com- parisons, says Marc Bekoff, a scientist from the University of Colorado in Boulder. “Dogs do what they need to do to be dogs, and foxes do what they need to do to be foxes.”

That said, animals can demonstrate some surprisingly smart behavior. Keep reading for mind-boggling tales of animal brainpower.

JESSIE—

Te Naw Ullce) ssc. aa .e

eT ' MIRROR— 2g ee ee | ; arias , aC oe | iis ys. > _ Jessie the red fox pup is curious. At New Forest Wildlife Park in Ashurst,

me a eS | el England, she approaches photographer Simon Czapp the minute he enters } a ae her pen. Surprised, the photographer lets her sniff his shoes and stick her nose in his camera lens.

When Jessie stops, Czapp sets up a camera mounted on a tripod next toa tree stump. Then clutching a second camera, he steps back to watch. The little fox doesn’t disappoint. She climbs onto the stump and examines the camera. “She looks so funny,’ says the photographer, who snaps picture after picture.

Later Czapp uploads photos from the shoot to his computer. Alongside his pictures are others he didn’t take—they were taken by the fox! Jessie Snapped herself reflected in a mirror, and she captured the photographer photographing her.” Technically my pictures were better,’ Czapp says. “But hers were nicely framed.” Someone should give this furry shutterbug a selfie stick.

"SIMON CZAPP / SOLENT NEWS AND PHOTO AGENCY (JESSIE, BOTH) SEPTEMBER 2020 © NAT GEO KIDS ] 5

Scientist Vladimir Dinets is watching crocodiles in India. Some of them swim up under floating sticks and laze around for hours, balancing the sticks on their snouts.“I think it’s just for camouflage, he says. But years later at Florida's St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, he sees American crocodiles doing the same thing. Dinets | notices a huge colony of nesting egrets nearby just as | there was in India. Is there a connection between the | crocs and these birds? | Intrigued, Dinets makes two discoveries." The croco- | diles tend to carry sticks near egret colonies, mostly at ! nest-building time, he says. Why? The crocs are using sticks as bait to lure the unsuspecting birds closer. Then when an egret reaches for a stick to add to its nest, the hungry croc quickly opens its large mouth. Snap! It’s bye-bye, birdie! This means that Dinets’s research | proves that these crafty reptiles use tools. |

Mariska the Friesian horse wants two things: freedom and extra food. Getting either requires finding a path through a series of locked doors in her barn in Midland, Michigan. So the clever mare often trots around and checks for fasteners she can undo. The other horses gather to watch as she slides bolts, twists handles, pushes doors, and lifts latches. Then they join her in galloping on the lawn or scarfing down grain kept outside the stalls.

As soon as owners Sandy and Don Bonem change the locks, Mariska figures them out. “She thinks things through and actually has a plan, Sandy Bonem says. And if one plan fails, Mariska devises another. Most recently the Bonems hung a new gate across the opening to Mariska’s stall. Will that keep her confined? Time will tell. But for now the Bonems remain on guard, and for good reason. Mariska's sister is learning her tricks!

TAKE A QUIZ TO TEST YOUR ANIMAL SMARTS!

natgeokids.com/september

| NATGEOKIDS © SEPTEMBER 2020

Be eee REL OS TO ATTRACT SYR TR Te

Labs have been MMe RAB ye popular dog breed in the United States for nearly 30 years RA)

COURTESY OF SANDY AND DON BONEM (MARISKA); COURTESY OF MARILYN HUTCHINSON (TY); VLADIMIR DINETS, PHD (CROCODILE); TINA GUNHOLD-DE-OLIVEIRA, PHD (MARMOSETS IN BOX); © PETE OXFORD / NATURE PICTURE LIBRARY (SOLO MARMOSET)

| fully wrapped stick of butter

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DOG LOGIC

Ty the yellow Lab opens screen doors. He holds jars between his paws and twists their caps off with his teeth. And he raids the refrigerator so often that his family puts a lock on it.

One Labor Day, Ty goes with his owners to a neighborhood picnic on Round Island in New York’s St. Lawrence River. He watches as people grill hamburgers and prepare sweet corn. Suddenly one woman throws up her hands. “Butter!” she yells. “I forgot the butter for the corn.”

That's too bad. But folks make do without. Meanwhile, Ty wanders off. When he finally returns about 30 minutes later, his owner’s mom, Marilyn Hutchinson, is completely shocked.“ He must’ve understood what we were saying and gone searching from house to house,’ she says. Why does she think that? The proud pup is wagging his tail and holding a

in his mouth!

A GROUP OF MARMOSETS WUE el) INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO SET UP PL).

Some common marmosets—a kind of monkey—learn faster than others. But they're all good at learning from each other.

A wild marmoset called Alberto wants to open a box with bananas in it. He watches an instructional video that researcher Tina Gunhold-de Oliveira plays in Brazil's Atlantic Forest. Alberto puts his own twist on the instructions and creates a method that works. But it requires climbing on the box and pulling the lid open with his hand. Sometimes, while Alberto is on top of the box, another marmoset waits in front. Then that clever monkey steals the treat. “It’s funny to watch,” the researcher says.

Katharina, a pregnant marmoset, is too tired to open the food box at first. But she pays close attention to the video of a marmoset demon- strating how to do it—by grabbing the knob of the drawer and pull- ing it open using both hands. After her twins are born, Katharina copies that tech- nique and enjoys many goodies. “Social learning is crucial, Gunhold- de Oliveira says. And marmosets can learn from anyone—family, friends, even strangers on

i.

a screen.

SEPTEMBER 2020 » NATGEOKIDS |

Only about a thousand

AL

gorillas are left

on Earth. Ses

“AMAZING APES Bt

Antelope hunters in Rwanda, a country in Africa, set snares by tying a noose to a branch, bending the branch down, and Staking it to the ground. When an animal bumps a hidden Stake, the branch springs upward, tightening the noose around its leg. But this time, an endangered three-year-old mountain gorilla has died after getting caught in the snare.

Days after the young ape’s death, John Ndayambaje, a gorilla bodyguard with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, spots another snare in the forest. He quickly yanks up the rope.

Then, to his surprise, two gorilla youngsters suddenly leap forward. They finish dismantling that snare and, with another juveniles help, destroy a second one that Ndayambaje hadn't even noticed.“ They want to be sure there is no longer danger, he says.

“Gorillas are so like us,” says Tara Stoinski, chief scientist of the Gorilla Fund.“ They feel pain and help each other.’ For these smart apes, one tragedy is too many.

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WATCH MORE CLEVER CREATURES IN ACTION! natgeokids.com/september

| NATGEOKIDS © SEPTEMBER 2020

Nes

But everyone was glad that she did.

Nancy Cowen, 89, couldn't manage on her own. So relatives took her to Bramley House, a nursing home in Surrey, England. Soon after, staff noticed a Persian-cross cat hanging around the place. The creature spent three weeks peering in windows and Sleeping on a patio table outside Cowen’s room." I thought she was a stray, caregiver Laura Costello said. One night another employee picked up the cuddly kitty just as Cowen appeared in her open window. The cat scrambled free and bounded inside. “This looks like my cat, Cleo,’ Cowen said. “But my cat was missing her tail.” The employee turned the cat around—her tail was a stump! Cowen’s relatives had given Cleo to the neighbors. But the pet left them and traveled over a mile to Bramley House, a place she'd never been. “It’s extraordinary, Costello said.“We had no idea how Cleo found her owner.”

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NEO THE KEA USES NRSC) OT | i es LCP OT IN) Ce

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MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

ATLANTIC FOREST, BRAZIL

PARROT PREDICTIONS

This parrot’s no birdbrain. When offered the choice between a black token and an orange token, Neo the kea—a type of

parrot that lives only in New Zealand—chooses the black one.

That's because over time, he’s figured out that choosing the black token is more likely to get him a tasty treat!

Scientists have observed primates using math to make deci- sions in the wild—but no one had ever observed birds using math

before. “We knew keas were smart,’ researcher Amalia Bastos says.

“But we wanted to test their knowledge of probability, or their ability to figure out how likely an event would happen.”

For the first part of the experiment, Neo and five other keas were encouraged to use their beaks to pick up black or orange tokens from the ground. They were given treats if they picked up black tokens, and nothing if they chose orange. Next, researchers mixed up the tokens in clear jars. They'd pick up one token from each jar and hide them in their palms before offering them to the birds. The keas preferred tokens from jars that had more black ones than orange, showing they were playing the percentages.

That makes keas the first animals outside of the great ape family (and humans) that use probability in their decision-making

process. All those black tokens add up to some seriously smart birds.

ROUND ISLAND, NEW YORK

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA

SURREY, ENGLAND

ASHURST, _ ENGLAND

SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND

MOST INTELLIGENT DINO EVER?

TROODON

There's no way to know for sure which was the “smartest” dino. But Troodon is

body ratio, which is a way scientists assess i e : an animal's intelligence. The small, fast- = } 42 Ula te Pao 1 Ret OCc1R-[RLOUCM UUM oO RSC) ae fe hearing and huge eyes that faced forward, wre allowing it to more accurately judge its dis- | tance from its prey before it attacked.

© CHRISTOPHE COURTEAU / NATURE PICTURE LIBRARY (MOUNTAIN GORILLA MAIN, MAP INSET); DIAN FOSSY GORILLA FUND INTERNATIONAL (SNARE TRAP); GRANT MELTON (CLEO MAIN, MAP INSET); AMALIA BASTOS (KEA MAIN, MAP INSET); COURTESY OF SANDY AND DON BONEM (HORSE INSET); COURTESY OF MARILYN HUTCHINSON

(DOG INSET); SIMON CZAPP / SOLENT NEWS AND PHOTO AGENCY (RED FOX INSET); © PETE OXFORD / NATURE PICTURE LIBRARY (MARMOSET INSET); BLICKWINKEL / ALAMY (CROCODILE INSET); VALENTYNA CHUKHLYEBOVA / SHUTTERSTOCK(TROODON), PIXFICTION / SHUTTERSTOCK (CAP), IMAGE DIGITALLY COMPOSED

NATGEOKIDS |

© rainy » Questions

BY ALLYSON SHAW ART BY ALICE BRERETON

WE'VE

Why do beaches have sand?

Sand is mostly mountains plus time. Over millions of years, wind and rain break off little pieces of Earth’s crust. These bits travel through rivers and streams, getting smaller and smaller as they flow through water and bump against other obstacles. Eventually the bits reach the ocean, where waves Smash them into even smaller pieces and push them onto the shore. But some sand, like on the beaches of Hawaii, is mostly made from parrotfish poop! Parrotfish nibble on algae grow- ing on dead coral, and sometimes they accidentally digest the coral. Then they poop it out as sand. In fact, one parrot- fish's tummy can grind up enough coral to create up to 800 pounds of soft, white sand a year.

2Q NATGEOKIDS © SEPTEMBER 2020

Where does |

tap water come from?

You probably already know that the water you use to brush your teeth likely comes from a local water source like a lake, passes through a treatment facility, then heads to a storage tank and into your house. But you might not know that those Same water molecules have been around since the Earth began. Some scientists think our water arrived 4.6 billion years ago as ice on meteorites that slammed into our still- forming planet. Ever since, those water molecules have been evaporating from oceans and lakes, condensing into clouds, and precipitating over and over. That means a T. rex might've once sipped the same water you did! (We'll let you figure out how the dino’s drink made it back into the water cycle.)

Why do avocados exist | if animals can’t eat their seeds? |

To make guacamole! Well, kind of. In the wild, new fruit plants can grow when animals eat their fruit then poop out the seeds. But avocados are too big for most animals to swallow whole—so how does the fruit still exist? You can thank extinct animals like giant ground sloths. Until about 10,000 years ago, these 15-foot mammals roamed the Americas, Snacking on avocados and their pits. After they went extinct, scientists think that humans started planting avocado seeds to grow new plants. If they hadn't, avocado trees likely would have gone extinct too.

Why are ancient statues and buildings always white?

PROVE YOUR SMARTS: TAKE BRAINY QUIZZES! natgeokids.com/quizwhiz

SEPTEMBER 2020 e NATGEOKIDS 9}

How do monarch butterflies know where to fly? |

Because of sunshine and magnets—in a sense, that is. Every winter, monarch butterflies fly up to 3,000 miles south to cen- tral Mexico—even though they ve never been there before. The shorter days and cooler weather send a signal that it’s time for the monarchs to migrate. As they travel, they use their large, complex eyes to look at the position of the sun, and their internal clock to tell them what time it is. They then use that information to figure out which way is south, since the sun changes position throughout the day. But what if it’s cloudy? Monarchs can pick up on Earth's magnetic field lines— which run from the north of the planet to the south—to guide themselves on overcast days. The next big mystery scientists are trying to solve: How do the monarchs know when to stop?

What's the most anyone has counted out loud to?

One million! And you probably don’t want to try breaking the record: Jeremy Harper counted out loud 16 hours a day for 89 days to reach his ginormous goal. Don’t think a million seems all that big? You'd be 2,739 years old if you lived a million days and need about 286 pieces of paper to type out a million zeros. And a million jelly beans stacked on top of each other would reach twice the height that a commercial airplane flies.

Do pets know

s their names? |

Yes—kind of. Pets don’t speak human, but they do recognize

' sounds. One study has shown that pets know the difference

, between the names we've given them and similar-sounding words, even when said by a stranger. Scientists think that dogs and cats learn to listen for the sounds that make up their name because responding often means cuddles and treats. So why does your cat not always come when it's called? It likely knows its name—but it's probably ignoring you.

22D NATGEOKIDS © SEPTEMBER 2020

F

What's inside the

What's the farthest we've sent something into space?

About 13.8 billion miles! In 1977, NASA scientists launched two

spacecraft, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, to study the outer planets of our solar system and beyond. Today Voyager 1 is the farthest thing we ve sent into the universe, while Voyager 2 is a still-impressive 11.5 billion miles away. Each far-flung vessel carries a gold-plated disc with messages for extraterrestrials. What would a traveling alien get out of us Earthlings? Music, whale calls, greetings in 55 languages, and photos of astronauts, airplanes, and kids in class- rooms. Each disc also has playing instructions in case aliens ever find this high-tech message in a bottle.

Great Pyramid of Giza?

eT

What do beavers

smell like? Cc

Freshly baked cookies! If you could get your nose close to a beaver’s tail, you'd sniff a goo called castoreum that beavers use to mark their territories—and yep, it comes out of their butts. The slimy stuff smells like vanilla because of their diet of leaves and bark. Manufacturers have put this natural ingredient in perfumes and

foods, but it turns out it’s pretty hard to “milk”

a beaver. Plus, it’s kind of gross.

SEPTEMBER 2020 e NATGEOKIDS 23

DARE TO EXPLORE

How quick-thinking scientists help protect the planet

BY KITSON JAZYNKA

THE BIOLOGIST

Lisa Dabek

~~

eo er 5 ee ak a are “T was with our local research team, aoe ar =. Sees oe trying to capture a tree kangaroo in

a Cloud forest, which is a rainforest high in the mountains. Like regular kangaroos, tree kangaroos have pouches and can hop, but they live in trees. We wanted to put a camera on one of the kangaroos so we could see what it did in the treetops.

“To find one, we looked for claw marks on bark and kangaroo poop on the ground. We finally spotted a kangaroo 60 feet up in a tree and cleared the area below of brush and waited. Then one of the locals climbed up.

We knew the tree kangaroo would react by leaping down as if a predator were close. I held my breath. From way up high, the tree kangaroo spread its limbs, glided down, and landed on the soft, mossy ground. She let us gently put a camera collar on 4 her before she hopped away. When the collar fell off five days later, we retrieved it and had footage of her munching on orchids and cleaning her pouch a hundred feet up in a tree! prea aL | | “Little is known about these animals, and I want more NCUA TEE Biology, chemistry people to discover them so we can save them together. If Lr iti FernGully: The Last Rainforest youre ever lucky enough to meet a tree kangaroo, you'll alee Quest for the Tree Kangaroo fall in love with it.” : by Sy Montgomery

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WANT TO BE A BIOLOGIST?

eR Roa

ROBERT LIDDELL (TREE KANGAROO); JONATHAN BYERS (DABEK); THOMAS MARENT / MINDEN PICTURES (SLOW LORIS); DEVORE, SORA / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAGE COLLECTION

NAT GEO KIDS SEPTEMBER 2020 (MAJUMDAR); CARSTEN PETER / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAGE COLLECTION (VOLCANO, PETER)

“When I was working in Thailand, my team heard that slow lorises—primates that live throughout Asia—were being poached, or illegally taken, from the wild. They were being sold so tourists could take photos with them and share the images on social media. Poachers also sell the shy, small animals as pets.

“To catch the criminals, we trained a local police team to track them. I was there for the arrest and rescue operation to make sure the animals were recovered Safely. You could tell the lorises hadn't been well cared for. We wrapped them in blankets to keep them warm, but they were so stressed, they chewed up the cloth. I was relieved to deliver the animals to a wildlife rescue center where caregivers would help the lorises get healthy again.

| Apher “Moments like saving A SLOW LORIS | pares poem #8 mae §=WWANT TO BE A WILDLIFE WARRIOR? Ss oer pee my job. I want to help SV eye lS especially Tol | : ° ETT eT sar ea ners catch poachers and Veterinary science, law enforcement EAU = mee os a rhs rae encourage