Chuck's post last week about the guy who trained a rat to sit on top of a cat sitting on a dog
, reminded me of the groundbreaking research of Dr. Loh Seng Tsai, conducted back in the late 1940s/early 1950s.
Dr. Tsai trained a cat and a rat to cooperate together in order to get food. From the LA Times
, July 15, 1951:
The latest research was done with the aid of special apparatus composed of three sections separated by electrically controlled screen gates. First section is the entrance or release box, where a cat and a rat assemble for a test. The second section is the reaction chamber where cooperation takes place.
To get into the third section, where a dish of food awaits, the cat and mouse must each step on a floor button simultaneously. When this is done by perfect cooperation the gate drops and both animals thus gain admittance to the food chamber.
Dr. Tsai reported that, "Soon all the pairs of cats and rats began to work together. Finally their cooperation was so perfect that they took only three seconds to reach their food from the entrance."
Dr. Tsai figured that these results disproved Darwin's concept of the Survival of the Fittest. He told the LA Times reporter: "In the face of the fact that even alley cats and rats live together, eat together, sleep together, play together and work together, Darwin's theory seems at most only a half-truth."
What's really amazing is that this guy was a professor of biology at first the University of Chicago, then Tulane, then UCLA, and yet he didn't seem to have a clear understanding of what Darwin meant by the Survival of the Fittest. Nor, as far as I can tell, did anyone ever call him out as a crackpot. In fact, there was talk of nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize.