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Flag solfeggio January 17, 2012 11:44 PM EST

Anybody who still thinks our fellow animals are of lesser intelligence should take a look at this:

The clever crow is using a little ring he found as a snowboard and is having the time of his life sledding down the rooftop.  And what's more, when he tries it on another part of the roof, and it doesn't work, he goes back to the snowier part of the roof.

Absolutely marvelous!     

Flag mountain_man January 18, 2012 12:35 AM EST

Never underestimate a bird brain.

Flag CharikIeia January 18, 2012 3:55 AM EST

Hmm... are you sure the crow isn't just trying to eat something?

We use a lot of ring-shaped bird food, over here - and crows are known to just hijack them.

Could it be one of those?

I'm a bit reluctant to anthropomorphise here, cuteness being just too tempting.

Flag farragut January 18, 2012 9:11 AM EST

A perfect opportunity to recommend again, "Mind of the Raven", by Bernd Heinrich.

Ben lived very close to the birds up in Weld, Maine, and lyrically reports their intelligence and personalities.



Flag mountain_man January 18, 2012 11:39 AM EST

Jan 18, 2012 -- 3:55AM, CharikIeia wrote:

Hmm... are you sure the crow isn't just trying to eat something?

No. The crow was playing. No anthropomorphizing needed. Many animals play. I've watched wild otters slide down a snow bank. I've watched hawks repeatedly and purposely fly into a strong updraft to be blasted straight up. I've watched sea gulls repeatedly and purposely ride the rapids in a small creek on the beach. This crow was just a bit smarter and used a sled. Corvids are known to make and use tools.

The problem is not anthropomorphizing, but the opposite; believing that humans are the only animals that can think - or have fun.

Flag Erey January 18, 2012 2:40 PM EST

I will never claim animals don't think but Solf they are of lesser general intelligence than humans.

Just because my dog is not as smart as a human does not make the dog less worthy of love.  I don't have to think an animal is brilliant and imbiled with some arcane wisdom to appreciate it. 

Other than my comments on animal intelligence I always enjoy watching any creature human or nonhuman enjoy themselves. 

I like to watch the squirrels that live outside use the branches and the power lines as trapeese props to fling their little bodies around.  They could just scamper in a straight forward fashion but they choose to let their bodies be propelled. 

Flag solfeggio January 18, 2012 4:53 PM EST

Erey -

I take your point, but I have to say that I honestly don't think that other animals are necessarily of lesser intelligence than humans.  And I say this because, since we really cannot communicate with them, we don't know just how they think.  Also, for all we know, they might possess a type of intelligence that we wouldn't understand even if we could ask them about it.

I'm thinking of whales, for instance, that send messages to each other in their own language.  How could we possibly know what those messages are all about?  And what about the octopus?  They are known to be very bright and have figured out solutions to puzzles.

And I have to say that my cats have communicated with me in totally mysterious ways.  Who knows what's going on in a cat's mind when she snuggles up to me, looks at my face, and meows?

So what if we ascribe human attributes to other animals?  For all we know, those creatures do possess what we might think of as human attributes.  I don't think there is anything wrong with anthropomorphising.


Flag Merope January 19, 2012 5:00 AM EST

This thread was moved from the Hot Topics Zone.

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