Yesterday while I was busy chasing cats, I found in the stowage an old issue of National Geographic magazine. It had a cover story on animal intelligence. It made for interesting reading.
I wonder if you have harboured wishes of having conversations with animals, remember Dr Dolittle? 🙂
Animals are smarter than most of us think them to be. Animals have always had intellectual abilities however what fauna friends refer to as intelligence might be entirely different from human definitions. It’s like searching for life in far off galaxies, but then life forms on a particular planet may be in contrast with what we have here.
To us motion, respiration, activity, etc. might be vital signs of life but who knows if for a green alien in Mars life means being in a vegetative state? Similar is the quest for animal intelligence and as far as I am concerned I never had a doubt about it.
We have chimpanzees demonstrating teamwork, dolphins enchanting humans with their understanding and dogs and kittens forming emotional empathy with their human friends. We have Dogbert, the CEO dog from Dilbert comics. Hobbes, the philosopher tiger from Calvin & Hobbes and who can forget the likes of the lazy cat Garfield and heroics of Superman’s dog Krypto?
Fictional, you say?
Well, how about this, Betsy, the now-famous dog has a vocabulary of more than 300 words, knows 15 people by name and can retrieve objects seen in photographs or the deceased parrot Alex who gave avian intelligence new dimensions with his smart as a whip behaviour.
Then, there’s Chaser, the amazing dog, who knows words like “sit,” “fetch,” and “roll-over” adding up to an astounding 1,000 words!
In 2012, a group of some of the most brilliant thinkers of our time, including Stephen Hawking, came together to declare that animals do in fact have emotions:
“The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”
Still, got doubts? Look into the eyes of any animal in your vicinity, if you look with the belief you would for sure see the warmth of love. And believe me; any species capable of love is for sure, intelligent!