Prairie Dog Squeak Equals Human Sentence

May 19, 2013

I must say that I find it quite incredible that inside the very short squeak of a prairie dog is a complete sentence of the form “Danger, a thin human in a yellow shirt is approaching the colony.”

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More Evidence of Surprisingly High Non-Human Animal Intelligence

March 4, 2008

When people think of highly intelligent animals, most think of primates, dolphins, and possibly elephants. Some will add parrots and members of the crow family, but only if they’ve read quite a bit on the subject. Most of us also sort of intuitively get that most predators are smarter than most herbivores, despite exceptions like elephants.

However, even though I have read quite a bit about animal intelligence, I was still surprised by the level of intelligence, especially social intelligence, being shown by spotted hyenas.

Hyenas — Sociable and Smart

I hope this will also provide yet another bit of strong evidence for our moral responsibility toward the other intelligences with whom we share this beautiful and unusual planet. Please see my Moral Considerability post for a further and ongoing discussion of interspecies morality.


High Noon In The Age Of Bacteria

December 24, 2007

It occurs to me that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and will be engulfed by the sun in another 4.5 billion years. Bacteria have been around since almost the beginning. The oldest fossilized bacteria being from around 3.8 billion years ago. I do not know whether bacteria will continue to survive right up until the sun goes nova. So, we’re roughly at the mid point for life on this planet.

So what? (Please keep reading. I’m coming around to a very important point in my long-winded way.)

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