Animal Memory Capacity

Animal Memory Capacity in Clark's nutcracker
Clark’s Nutcracker

One of the most interesting areas of study in living things is animal memory capacity. Memory is designed into animals to benefit both them and other forms of life in their ecosystem. We see a good example of partial memory in squirrels who bury massive numbers of seeds, such as acorns, but only remember where they put a fraction of them. What that means is that the squirrels have enough to eat, but they plant trees over a huge geographic area. There are many forms of life where partial memory serves a similar purpose.

On the other hand, some life forms remember virtually 100%. A good example of this is Clark’s Nutcrackers. They survive on pinion seeds, and a single bird may hide as many as 30,000 seeds, placing 4 or 5 seeds in each spot. Throughout the winter, the Nutcracker, when hungry, will return to each hiding place to get food. By the time spring arrives, this bird will have consumed almost all of the seeds hidden in thousands of different places.

It is interesting that different forms of life have different memory capacities that benefit not only themselves but also their environment. You could compare it to thumb drives for your computer, having different memory capacities depending on the thumb drive’s design. God has placed different storage in the memory of the brain of each creature He created. In humans, that storage capacity is huge and can be accessed in many ways. In the animal world, there is an interaction with the environment that is beneficial to the animals and the environment.

Trying to explain this animal memory capacity by evolutionary reasoning is incredibly difficult and is full of assumptions. Those of us who believe in God as the creator understand why this kind of thing occurs over and over. It speaks of God and His wisdom and design in the world around us.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: Our Fascinating Earth: Strange, True Stories of Nature’s Oddities, Bizarre Phenomena, and Scientific Curiosities by Dr. Philip Seff, Ph.D.