Companion Vs. Other Animals

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Companion Vs. Other Animals
Comments by Gary Loewenthal - 5 Aug 2007

I'm no expert in bird intelligence, but I have about Alex the African Grey, who, among other things, repeatedly - not randomly - put together original subject-verb-object sentences that made sense, correctly identified classes of objects, and told lies as a deceptive way to curry favor.

Of course, all animals have different types of intelligence; chickens recognize object permanence at birth, for example. I think we may underestimate and under-appreciate right-brain or even emotional intelligence in animals, since it's harder to quantify or test, and the scientists who measure intelligence may feel more comfortable with left-brain stuff. I think about roosters determining the right balance of assertion and gentleness when breaking up a fight, or elephants mourning their dead - even placing mementos on graves of friends, or Dorrie the rabbit who thumped for help when her human went into diabetic coma, or the cows who walked to a human's house and mooed for help when a fellow cow was in peril, or the cat in England who, on his own, takes the bus to the fish and chips shop each day.


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