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Who Says Animals Can't Think and Reason and Have Fun? [118*-22]

Updated on March 5, 2014

Snowboarding Black Bird

Who Says Animals Can't Have Fun?

I NEEDED TO GET this written before I forgot it. I was watching CNN HLN this morning, 1/17/2012, when I saw this black bird sliding down a partially snow-covered metal roof of a house; it obviously caught my attention. As I watched, it then bent down and picked up something it had been standing on in its beak and proceeded to fly back up to the top of the roof in Yekaterinburg, Russia

It turned out, according to the newscaster, to be a lid the bird had found. Anyway, the bird put it down, step on it and proceeded to push itself of the roof again to slide down again. This was repeated three more times before this segment was over. Amazing! I just stared in silence thinking, Amazing; clearly, this Black Bird was having fun.


UPDATE 12/12/2012: - MY WIFE JUST RELATED THE FOLLOWING little vignette to me about my step-daughter's dog, Panzer; another example of an animal's ability to observe, reason, plan, and act.

After having had their house and car broken into three times in as many years while living in the supposed safety of rural Florida, my step-daughter and her husband bought security lights for all corners of their house, a dog, and finally a fence. It hasn't been a year yet since the last robbery (each robbery was almost a year apart) so we are waiting to see if the security measures worked.

In any case, a couple of mornings ago, my step-son-in-law's boss, Donny, stopped by to pick him up for work; it was still dark. He had to wait outside the fence and while doing so watched Panzer, a German Shepard, watching him from the lit carport next to the house. Shortly, Panzer got up and crossed in front of the house setting off the security light near him and then the one at the far front corner. He then proceeded around to the back of the house setting off those security lights as well until he arrived back on the carport. There, he sat down and began watching Donny again, through what is now a well lit yard.

Does anyone care to explain this untaught behaviour?

Can Animals Think and Reason?

OF COURSE THEY CAN, although many religions, especially Christian religions, deny this; they hold only humans have been given the ability to think and reason, they are just "dumb" animals. For so many of the higher mammals, this belief has been empirically proven to be wrong. I suspect that even for animals lower down the evolutionary chain, with smaller brains, it is basically wrong as well.

This story about the crow is one piece of anecdotal evidence. Another is a Cockatoo I used to own. My ex-wife, who, sadly, ended up with the Cockatoo. raised from birth; one of the things we needed to do when it got sick was to bathe it in the sink. Apparently he liked that, for later the bird squawked loudly at us and we looked up. He was looking at us while standing its water bowl, we ignored him which got us another squawk, then a flap of the wings and some stomping. Since this wasn't very long after we stopped bathing him, we finally got the idea, took him out and he was happy. After that, every time he wan't a bath, he got in his water bowl and squawked; he trained us well.

The point is, in my long lifetime, I have seem many, many pieces of anecdotal evidence that confirms to me that animals, even with fairly small brains, are perfectly capable, at some level, of determining there is something it likes, snowboarding or bathing, and figuring out how to replicate it later on; that involves a lot of high level brain power including:

  • ability to feel emotion
  • ability to remember
  • ability to problem solve
  • ability to communicate
  • ability to plan

that is powerful stuff, don't you think?

Even with all of the mounting evidence that animals are from "dumb", the controversy doesn't stop because the closer animals come having the same characteristics as humans, the weaker becomes the religious arugument that humans and all other life forms have two distinct origins, don't you see.

What Do You Think?

Do You Think Animals Like Birds, Rodents, and the Like Have Intelligence Such As I Just Described?

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    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks for your thoughts, Chip. I suspect, in answer to your question is that humanity would not have existed since it was so late on the scene if the rest of the animal kingdom treated Earth like we have for the last 1,000 years.

    • Chip Macgill profile image

      Chip Macgill 

      5 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      Well, not only Jains admire and respect animals. I would like to imagine "that" quality transcends all religions. In terms of intellect/intelligence and the application thereof. I believe animals to have it all, and more than what we have. After all, we need appendages or apparatus and propulsion (usually) to fly.

      What we witnessed in this little video is not really related to Pavlov's conditional behavior experiments (since, most likely no one "taught" this bird to do this.) This was somehow a learned behavior or supreme mimicry.

      I was also just wondering earlier (before I saw this video) "what if animals acted like humans with a complete disregard for their environment, and other members of their species and the existence of other species?"

      How long would the World have lasted?

      I am glad they are marvelous creatures, maybe even sentient (I swear my Jack Russell ponders.)

      I am glad, they are not like us.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      7 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I appreciate your stopping by Chris, I don't know how prevalent it is today but it wasn't that many years ago I was debating the issue. I responded to a comment on another hub where the author, in a discussion on the Bible, noted that "humans are more valuable than animals or trees". While "value" is obviously not the same thing as intelligence, or lack thereof, I think the same reasoning goes into both assertions. Anyway, as you would probably guess, I didn't let that one pass, lol.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      I don't know about the Christian thing either, I know am a self proclaimed christian...but I know Animals are much deeper than many get credit for.

      They really ARE amazing creatures...

      Have you seen the lion that the two guys raised for one year then released to the wild...then a year or so later, the searched for her and when they found her, that lion went crazy, hugging and loving on them. very cool.

      That bird having fun, is hilarious!

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      7 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks for your comment JPCMC. Yep, the more fundamentalist branches do, anyway; I have had many a good argument in the past over this, starting with my father. Animals are simply amazing.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      7 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I did not know Christians see aimals this way. Anyway, that's a cool bird having fun. As for animal intelligence, of course they have a certain level of intelligence. It may not be as complicated as ours but behaviors are based on assimilation and accommodation of expeirences and information - even for animals. The conditioning experiments done by Pavlov illustrates this clearly.


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