More news out about animals hits the news weekly. This week it is that the domestication of felines took place much further back than originally thought–some 100,000 years according to a short snippet in Science. With all the genome studies and testing using DNA our theories about animals and issues surrounding them keep changing.
This weekend in the Los Angeles Times Parade Magazine, Eugene Linden wrote about animal intelligence and empathy–something that he has written about since the late 70’s (at least when I remember reading some of his work).
It cracks me up how “suddenly” anecdotal observations or hypothesizes suddenly become “official” once a scientific study or two explores a topic and then publishes the results.
If truth be told, if I had a choice between having an academic or a street wise animal person watching my back–the street wise person would win out most of the time.
When push comes to shove I want someone with ability and common sense to save my life not ponder the ramifications of behavior being shaped by external stimuli…or dismissing behavior (or intuition about the behavior) simply because it hasn’t been definitively proven.
I just read what came across as a snotty reply over “anecdotal” observations shared by someone writing in to someone that is considered my colleague–she dismissed the notion that animals may perceive changes in barometric pressure and other phenomena surrounding thunderstorms–in relation to noise phobia.
I don’t have time to rant on about that subject but will say that since I’ve been in my career since the mid-70’s–most of our thoughts about animals have changed. Also, infrasound, ultrasound and other unique perceptions come from hardwiring for survival.
My comment is that animals have to be in tune with their environment and others in it to successfully propagate and have their unique composition remain in the gene pool.
Wh wouldn’t they have better senses, intellegence, and emotional components that we don’t understand?
How ridiculous and arrogant to think that humans (who are incidentally animals) are the only ones with special gifts, cognitive processes, or emotions!
Granted, people often don’t interpret behavior or signals very well–but that is for another commentary.