National Geographic Society

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Animal Einsteins

This little bird is a Clark's nutcracker.  In the fall, his whole life was dedicated to hiding away his winter rations in thousands of caches of just a few seeds each.  The nutcracker can store 100 pine seeds in a pouch at the back of his throat and then use his long beak to drill them into the ground.  100,000 seeds spread out in secret stashes of 3-5 over a 15 mile area.  He'd have to be a genius to remember where he put them all.  It turns out though the Clark's nutcracker's spatial memory is very special.  He takes a mental snap shot of each place he stored his winter supplies and using each tree, overhang and pointy rock as landmarks, he triangulates the position of every cache, with an astonishing 90% accuracy.

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These wild brainiacs will have you cowering behind your sofa as they flaunt their intelligence and apply logic and creativity to fulfill their instinctual needs.