NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

“True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view) consists of its attitude toward those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”
— Milan Kundera in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Chicken-human behavioral similarities

The Startling Intelligence of the Common Chicken: Chickens are smart, and they understand their world, which raises troubling questions about how they are treated on factory farms
Excerpt: “… [Chickens empathize] with individuals that are in danger.”
Comment: Or sick: On beautiful days, when my chickens would otherwise be eager to go out hunting for bugs, they'd instead sit inside next to one dying of cancer, also shunning food just to be with her hour after hour.

One very brainy bird: Study finds pigeons uncommonly good at distinguishing cancerous from normal breast tissue
Excerpt:Pigeons performed as well as humans in categorizing digitized slides and mammograms of benign and malignant human breast tissue [thus performing like pathologists or radiologists — doctors!].

Are Dogs 'Kids?': Owner-Dog Relationships Share Striking Similarities to Parent-Child Relationships

When chimps outsmart humans

Reciprocity and parrots: Griffin the grey parrot appears to understand benefits of sharing, study suggests

New evidence of tool use discovered in parrots

Crows understand water displacement at the level of a small child: Show causal understanding of a 5- to 7-year-old child

Smarter than a first-grader? Crows can perform as well as 7- to 10-year-olds on cause-and-effect water displacement tasks

Crows Solve Puzzles Inspired by Aesop's Fables

Pigeons share our ability to place everyday things in categories

Pigeon power: Study suggests similarity between how pigeons learn the equivalent of words and the way children do

Political ravens? Ravens notice the relationships among others, study shows

Goats are far more clever than previously thought, and have an excellent memory

Chimpanzees Show Similar Personality Traits to Humans

Chimpanzees may know when they are right and move to prove it

Chimps can vary their smiles like humans

Fruit flies show mark of intelligence in thinking before they act, study suggests

I shouldn't have eaten there: Rats show behavior of 'regret' in choosing the wrong 'restaurant'

Monkeys also believe in winning streaks, study shows

The Social Genius of Animals (Scientific American Mind, Nov/Dec 2012)

Crows are smarter than you think: Crows join humans, apes and monkeys in exhibiting advanced rational thinking

Monkeys are seen making stone flakes so humans are 'not unique' after all: Wild-bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil deliberately break stones, unintentionally creating flakes that share many of the characteristics of those produced by early Stone Age hominins

Chickens and humans possess many similarities in behavior and social hierarchy. Although chickens are often disparaged as being dumb animals, observant chicken owners know otherwise.

Like many people, before I got chickens, I assumed they were stupid animals devoid of personalities—basically egg-laying machines. However, after I brought them home, I quickly fell in love with them; I call them my “kids” or my “babies.” Now it's not about the eggs, but a chance to give a wonderful life to animals that can indeed enjoy life, as I learned. Chickens exhibit surprising intelligence and marked individuality. I've noticed many parallels between chicken and human behavior. Here are some of them:

People obviously love tasty food. So do chickens. When my chickens were young, they would squeal with delight when given one of their treats, such as currants, but also simple pleasures such as fresh water, which they would instantly devour with zest. As adults, they slowly peck at crumble, their primary food they eat only if nothing else is available, but they peck like animated jackhammers when given something yummy, such as raisins, watermelon, other melons, black olives, flax, green and especially purple cabbage, oatmeal, corn on the cob (a favorite!), sweet potatoes, cheese, scrambled eggs, and egg shells. They also love blackberries, but what I can pick in 15 minutes, they can eat in seconds. But just as humans become accustomed to pleasures and eventually derive less thrill from them, so do chickens. The breakfast I served this morning once would have elicited prolonged Happy Baby sounds but instead evoked bored disappointment and rejection analogous to turning up one's nose—what I call turning up their beaks. Also as with humans, the best antidote is to withdraw the pleasure and later reintroduce it.

Just as humans often fiercely compete for the most desirable possessions and partners, chickens compete for the tastiest food but not the commonplace stuff. While chickens can be competitive (as evidenced by eating yummy food as rapidly as possible to get as much as possible when other chickens are near), they can also be remarkably altruistic by emitting a sound to call other chickens, essentially saying, “I found something really tasty. Come and get it!”

Taste matters to chickens, but so does color. They prefer brightly colored food: red, blue, purple, yellow, and green. Picking foods with such natural colors is a smart way to obtain powerful antioxidants and essential nutrients. A ScienceDaily article, Colorful Plates Boost a Picky Eater's Appetite, said:

“Parents of picky eaters can encourage their children to eat more nutritionally diverse diets by introducing more color to their meals, according to a new Cornell University study. The study finds that colorful food fare is more appealing to children than adults.”

It's more appealing to chickens, too. :-)

Chickens love sugar. I recently gave my chickens oatmeal as a treat, placing it on a paper plate I'd used to eat gluten-free pumpkin bread with a light sugar glaze, some of which stuck to the plate and dried. Chickens like oatmeal, but enjoy sugar even more; they seem to have radar for it. It took precisely one peck for the chicken to find the small nuggets of dried frosting adhering to the plate. She used that as a handle to pick the plate up, which dumped the oatmeal on the ground. She then walked around for a few minutes holding the now-vertical plate in her beak, as other chickens pecked at other sugar blobs on the plate. The amount of sugar totaled less than 1% of the oatmeal, which the chickens ignored even though it was in a surprisingly neat pile. Sugar is more yummy.

Chickens want what others have. Put a plate full of treats on the ground and the first chicken to reach it will often run off holding a treat in her beak while other hens run after her, trying to steal the food away, evidently thinking her treat is more valuable than the ones remaining on the plate: treats they could have all to themselves instead of chasing after a bird determined to keep what she has. Similarly, humans sometimes assume that what others have (such as a particular partner) is automatically more desirable than what they have. Cognizant of this, some women increase their appeal by inviting a male friend to accompany them.

Chickens are inquisitive and love to explore, even things that obviously contain no sources of food. For example, my chickens often hop onto my tractor or bulldozer while I work on their engines. They'll peer inside, tilt their heads, look at me, and keep doing that.

Chickens get bored eating and doing the same things. They crave variety. If they are free, they frequently move from one spot to another, such as hunting for bugs in the forest leaves, then in the grass, then in another grassy spot, and another. Then it might be time for a dust bath, or just basking in the sun, followed by more hunting in various places. Then they might hang out around me to see what I am doing or beg for treats, after which they might spend an hour or two in one of their favorite shady hang-out spots. Then more hunting for bugs as they slowly meander back to their coop in the evening. Once there, it's always time for a bedtime snack.

Unfortunately, most chickens in developed countries are either slaughtered for meat when they are very young or confined in cages so crowded they're like sardines in a can. Once chickens are given a taste of freedom, they—like humans—relish it, valuing it even more than safety and security.

As proof of that, consider my chickens, who know they are safe in the large pen attached to their coop that gives them considerably more square feet per bird than average. While in that pen, I've never seen them display the defensive behaviors they exhibit when they are free and exposed, such as frequently looking in the sky for predatory birds or listening and responding to potentially threatening sounds. In that pen, they have everything they need: water, food, and even a variety of tasty treats they attack like starved teenagers gobbling a pizza.

While chickens crave freedom once they experience it, chickens who don't know what it is like to be free are more tolerant of restrictions. My chickens rarely return to the safety of their pen or coop during the day unless they are terrified by a predator. Even when they are on high alert and are constantly looking and listening for sounds that signal danger, they would rather be free and in peril than safe and secure. Thus, chickens want freedom even if they have everything they need in captivity. Too bad most Americans don't.

My chickens are content in their pen only for a few minutes in the morning after exiting their coop. After a quick breakfast, they are eager to be freed so they can hunt for worms and assorted bugs on land that is strangely devoid of them. It doesn't matter. They often prefer hunting and striking out to eating crumble (their usual “chicken food” fare) or even platefuls of treats I know they love. If I don't free them to run around, they quickly get bored. Some will mope around as if they are depressed while the more vociferous ones make pitiful loud squawking sounds analogous to human crying, voicing their displeasure at being deprived of an accustomed pleasure.

Seconds after letting them loose, they make happy chicken sounds, analogous to happy baby sounds, and they are infused with energy as they scratch the ground and overturn leaves looking for something to eat. Hours of that activity yields less food than what they can wolf down in less than a minute while eating treats they clearly prefer to crumble. Thus, hunting for food is often more fun than eating it. Even when chickens have an endless supply of tasty food, they usually prefer to hunt for bugs, even if the search is fruitless.

The dumbest and smartest cause most of the problems.

The chicken at the top of the pecking order often isn't the smartest, just the most willing to ruthlessly attack others to put them in their place.

Those at the top of the pecking order get more resources (food in the case of chickens) that enables them to become larger and more powerful: the rich get richer.

Those at the top of the pecking order don't give a hoot about fairness or helping others even when there are more than enough resources for everyone. They hog resources and intimidate or attack others to deter them from getting their fair share.

Those at or near the bottom of the pecking order behave in a submissive manner and may appear stupid or unfriendly, but can come out of their shells and blossom if given a chance. This marked change in chickens can also happen in people, but few know how to catalyze such positive metamorphoses. Instead, people often enjoy bashing the imperfections and mistakes of others instead of helping them improve.

Interesting observation: After the alpha-chicken (the one at the top of the pecking order) died, the remaining chickens didn't fight to see who'd be #1; they all just got along in peace and harmony. With humans, the presumption is that we need leaders and government and would be lost without them. I have my doubts about that, and I wonder if they do us more harm than good. If the government collapsed, as it likely will, would you rob your neighbor? I wouldn't. If anything, I'd reach out more to others to see if they needed any help. Government enacts countless laws to force us to do what most of us would do on our own without any arm-twisting: treat others fairly and with respect, as we'd wish to be treated (the Golden Rule).

The most basic principle of civilization is cooperation. If chickens, often disparaged as bird-brains, can figure out how to share a plate of tasty food they all eagerly want, why can't humans cooperate and get along with one another without government? We could.

Cooperation is adaptive: that is, it enhances your probability of survival. If humans didn't innately realize the adaptive benefit of cooperation, they never would have survived long enough to form governments—governments of kings and dictators motivated not by the Golden Rule, but by usurping the lion's share for the rulers and their supporters. It is still the same way today, even in the United States, with politicians stealing our money to reward their special interests.

Arguably our most precious asset—our money—is controlled by the Federal Reserve System, not a part of the federal government as many people think, but a private corporation that acts in cahoots with our leaders to steal our money by diluting its value. They do that by literally creating money out of thin air. If you create money, you're a counterfeiter. That's a crime because it dilutes the value of existing money. The laws of economics are as immutable as the laws of physics; money cannot be created out of thin air and put into circulation without it lessening the value of existing money, such as the money in your bank account and 401(k) plan.

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
Henry Ford

Chickens have favorite buddies to hang out with, but their friendships may change over time.

Chickens have favorite hang-out spots, which may also change in time.

Chickens love to be comfortable. I discussed this with a chicken-loving expert who said that nature gives chickens and other animals the insulation and metabolism they need to stay warm in winter. Wrong; nature enables them to survive (usually), not be comfortable! Here's proof: My chickens hate to be in their coop, except during the winter when it is heated. At other times, as soon as I open the door to let them out in the morning, they almost climb over one another to exit first. However, when I open their door during winter, they will often whimper and refuse to come out during a 40° day even when tempted by a treat, such as scrambled eggs, they would otherwise rush to get (they're often so eager to get it they'll hop up before I have a chance to set the plates on the ground).

Wild animals are often miserable during winter, which is why I make shelters for them and created a site about that topic. One of the shelters I made is about 200 feet long and home to lots of animals who clearly prefer the coziness of this Hilton for Critters that blocks wind and provides insulation.

Chickens are more likely to behave if they had their fill of fun that day. If they had only a couple hours of freedom that day, it is often difficult to coax them back into their pen and then coop. If they didn't obtain their MDR (minimum daily requirement) of fun, they will stay out past the time when darkness—and its associated dangers—otherwise compels them to head in for the night. However, if they were free most of the day, getting them into the pen and coop is much easier.

As much as chickens love eating, foraging for food, and dust baths, I saw evidence of the depth of chicken emotion when two of the three birds in the flock spent days sitting with a dying one who couldn't walk.

Chickens have a long-term memory of danger, which I discussed in another article after showing a picture of Mark Zuckerberg holding a dead chicken he likely killed. “Birds, reptiles and mammals are all descended from a common ancestor,” so by slitting the throats of chickens, Zuckerberg is slitting the throats of relatives—very distant ones, of course, but still relatives.

One more thing: I've learned much more from chickens than they've learned from me. That valuable lesson should be extrapolated by educators who think imparting knowledge is a one-way street with students the inevitable receivers and teachers or professors always the transmitters. That attitude spills over to others, such as LinkedIn influencers who never engage with readers, as if they always know more even though some of them possess amateurish levels of knowledge.

Notes:

  1. Embryonic education: How learning begins long before birth
  2. Chickens 'cleverer than toddlers': Chickens may be brighter than young children in numeracy and basic skills, according to a new study.
    Comment: Thanks to Sue for telling me about that article. I commented on it at the end of another article.
  3. Despite their small brains, ravens and crows may be just as clever as chimps, research suggests
  4. Tropical crow species is highly skilled tool user
  5. Capuchin monkeys produce sharp stone flakes similar to tools
  6. Do hens have friends?
    Comment: That research “found no evidence to suggest that modern hens reared in commercial conditions form … friendships,” but having raised chickens in better conditions, I know they obviously DO form friendships when treated properly.
  7. Bird Brain? Birds and Humans Have Similar Brain Wiring based on Large-scale network organization in the avian forebrain: a connectivity matrix and theoretical analysis
  8. The Brains of the Animal Kingdom: New research shows that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence. Primatologist Frans de Waal on memory-champ chimps, tool-using elephants and rats capable of empathy.
  9. Empathy more common in animals than thought
  10. 80 percent of Burmese long-tailed macaques use stone-tools to hammer food
  11. Chimpanzees Are Rational, Not Conformists, Researchers Find based on Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) Flexibly Adjust Their Behaviour in Order to Maximize Payoffs, Not to Conform to Majorities
  12. Chimpanzees and Orangutans Remember Distant Past Events based on Memory for Distant Past Events in Chimpanzees and Orangutans
  13. Cherry or rhubarb? Orangutan mixes tasty cocktails in its mind
  14. Majority-Biased Learning: In Humans and Chimpanzees Knowledge Is Transmitted Within a Group by Means of a Majority Principle based on Majority-Biased Transmission in Chimpanzees and Human Children, but Not Orangutans
  15. Cooking up cognition: Study suggests chimps have cognitive capacity for cooking
  16. Maybe Our Species Should Become Rather More Humble
  17. Homolog of Mammalian Neocortex Found in Bird Brain based on Cell-type homologies and the origins of the neocortex
  18. Our Brains Are More Like Birds' Than We Thought based on Laminar and columnar auditory cortex in avian brain
  19. Do Animals Have Reflective Minds Able to Self-Regulate Perception, Reasoning, Memory?
  20. Chimps: Ability to 'Think About Thinking' Not Limited to Humans
    Comment: Metacognition—amazing!
  21. Chimps Play Like Humans: Playful Behavior of Young Chimps Develops Like That of Children
  22. Show us how you play and it may tell us who you are
  23. Apes may be closer to speaking than many scientists think
  24. Young Apes Manage Emotions Like Humans Do based on Development of socio-emotional competence in bonobos
  25. Apes understand that some things are all in your head: Humans aren't the only ones who can tell when someone's beliefs don't match reality
  26. Young Female Chimpanzees Treat Sticks as Dolls: Growing Evidence of Biological Basis for Gender-Specific Play in Humans
  27. Wild Chimpanzees Exchange Meat For Sex, Researchers Find
    Comment: Are humans really very different?
  28. Chimps Have Better Short-term Memory Than Humans
  29. The Ultimate Chimp Challenge: Chimps Do Challenging Puzzles for the Fun of It (based on Effect of a Cognitive Challenge Device Containing Food and Non-Food Rewards on Chimpanzee Well-Being)
    Comment: How many humans do that?
  30. Unlike people, monkeys aren't fooled by expensive brands
  31. Do Animals Think Like Autistic Savants?
  32. This is Dan. Dan is a Baboon. Read, Dan, Read
    Excerpt: “No one is exactly using the words "reading" and "baboons" in the same sentence, but a study published Thursday comes close.”
  33. Baboons And Pigeons Are Capable Of Higher-Level Cognition, Behavioral Studies Show
  34. Bird brain? Pigeons have quite a way with words
  35. Listening to Chickens Could Improve Poultry Production
  36. Birds Can Recognize People's Faces and Know Their Voices based on (1) Have we met before? Pigeons recognize familiar human faces (2) You sound familiar: carrion crows can differentiate between the calls of known and unknown heterospecifics
    Comment: My chickens know my voice and respond to it, even when they cannot see me.
  37. Something to crow about: New Caledonian crows show strong evidence of social learning
  38. Crows Are No Bird-Brains: Neurobiologists Investigate Neuronal Basis of Crows' Intelligence based on Abstract rule neurons in the endbrain support intelligent behaviour in corvid songbirds
  39. Crows React to Threats in Human-Like Way based on Brain imaging reveals neuronal circuitry underlying the crow’s perception of human faces
  40. Wild Crows Reveal Tool Skills based on Tool use by wild New Caledonian crows Corvus moneduloides at natural foraging sites
  41. Foraging for Fat: Crafty Crows Use Tools to Fish for Nutritious Morsels based on The Ecological Significance of Tool Use in New Caledonian Crows
  42. Crows Can Use 'Up To Three Tools' In Correct Sequence Without Training
  43. Crows Using Automobiles as Nutcrackers: The Evidence
  44. Tiny Crow Camera Spies On Clever Birds
  45. Crows count on 'number neurons'
  46. Tool-Making Birds: Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention For Clever Rooks
  47. From Fable To Fact: Rooks Use Stones And Water To Catch A Worm based on Rooks Use Stones to Raise the Water Level to Reach a Floating Worm
  48. Cockatoo 'Can Make Its Own Tools' and Clever Cockatoo With Skilled Craftmanship, both based on Spontaneous innovation in tool manufacture and use in a Goffin’s cockatoo
  49. Skilful cockatoos able to shape same tool from different materials
  50. Even cockatoos draw conclusions
  51. Chimp See, Chimp Learn: First Evidence for Chimps Improving Tool Use Techniques by Watching Others
  52. Chimpanzees Learn a More Efficient Tool Technique by Watching Others
  53. Chimpanzees Develop 'Specialized Tool Kits' To Catch Army Ants
  54. First Evidence Of Planned Animal Action? Chimp's Stone Throwing At Zoo Visitors Was 'Premeditated'
  55. Chimpanzee Uses Innovative Foresighted Methods to Fool Humans
  56. Whales Are Able to Learn from Others: Humpbacks Pass On Hunting Tips
  57. Time management skills keep animals primed for survival
  58. Birds, Young Children Show Similar Solving Abilities for 'Aesop's Fable' Riddle: At About 8 Years Old, Children's Performance Changes and Aesop's Fable Unlocks How Crows and Kids Think (both based on How Do Children Solve Aesop's Fable?)
  59. Pigeons Never Forget a Face
  60. Pigeons Show Superior Self-Recognition Abilities To Three Year Old Humans
  61. Pigeons As Art Critics? Pigeons, Like Humans, Use Color And Pattern Cues To Evaluate Paintings
  62. Ravens Remember Relationships They Had With Others based on Long-Term Memory for Affiliates in Ravens
  63. Ravens cooperate, but not with just anyone: Ravens detect cheaters in cooperation
  64. Scrub Jays React to Their Dead, Bird Study Shows: 'Funerals' Can Last for Up to Half an Hour based on Western scrub-jay funerals: cacophonous aggregations in response to dead conspecifics
  65. Pigeons Peck for Computerized Treat
  66. Birds 'weigh' peanuts and choose heavier ones
  67. Grey squirrels are quick learners, study shows
  68. Crabs Not Only Suffer Pain, But Retain Memory Of It based on Pain experience in hermit crabs?
  69. 'Shell-Shocked' Crabs Can Feel Pain based on Shock avoidance by discrimination learning in the shore crab (Carcinus maenas) is consistent with a key criterion for pain
    Comment: Human mistreatment of countless animals is simply unconscionable. Part of this stems from ignorance, part from callous indifference, and part from religious beliefs that God put all these animals on Earth for us to slaughter any frigging way we see fit, even if it inflicts terrible pain. Yup, God cares more about us eating more than we should and inflating our fat cells more than He cares about us doing the right thing. This is clearly an example of might makes right: killing in inhumane ways because we can, and because we can get away with it. This is a moral abomination, not something to tolerate. If you believe in God, do you really believe He gave many animals the ability to experience emotions and pain that permits people to intensify their misery? Isn't that needlessly cruel? What's the point in that? Some kind of sick joke? If you believe in religion, and you believe that God is good, you may wish to consider the possibility that He looks favorably upon people who treat animals with as much kindness and respect as possible.
  70. Guppies use ugly friends to seem more attractive
  71. Rats! Humans and Rodents Process Their Mistakes
  72. Bee brains challenge view that larger brains are superior at understanding conceptual relationships
  73. Dairy Cows Have Individual Temperaments
  74. Personal Touch In Farming: Giving A Cow A Name Boosts Her Milk Production
  75. New Questions About Animal Empathy
  76. Rare Neurons Linked to Empathy and Self-Awareness Discovered in Monkey Brains based on Von Economo Neurons in the Anterior Insula of the Macaque Monkey
  77. Monkeys Enjoy Giving To Others, Study Finds based on Giving is self-rewarding for monkeys
  78. Do Monkeys Know What Others Need? based on Food-related tolerance in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) varies with knowledge of the partner's previous food-consumption
  79. Monkeys Choose Variety for Variety's Sake based on How to spend a token? Trade-offs between food variety and food preference in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)
  80. Nut-Cracking Monkeys Use Shapes to Strategize Their Use of Tools based on Wild Bearded Capuchin Monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) Strategically Place Nuts in a Stable Position during Nut-Cracking
  81. The Symbolic Monkey? Animals Can Comprehend And Use Symbols, Study Of Tufted Capuchins Suggests based on Preference Transitivity and Symbolic Representation in Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus apella)
  82. Monkeys 'Understand' Rules Underlying Language Musicality
  83. Neurons In Primate Cortex Associate Numerical Meaning With Visual Signs
  84. Orangutans Smarter Than Previously Thought: Orangutan Nest Building Highly Sophisticated based on Nest-building orangutans demonstrate engineering know-how to produce safe, comfortable beds
  85. Orangutans Communicate As If They Were Playing Charades
  86. Great Apes Make Sophisticated Decisions: Research Suggests That Great Apes Are Capable of Calculating the Odds Before Taking Risks based on Great Apes' Risk-Taking Strategies in a Decision Making Task
  87. Great Apes Know They Could Be Wrong, Research Suggests based on Do apes know that they could be wrong?
  88. Apes Unwilling to Gamble When Odds Are Uncertain based on Chimpanzees and bonobos distinguish between risk and ambiguity
  89. Apes Get Emotional Over Games of Chance
  90. What was he thinking? Study turns to [impressive] ape intellect
  91. A chimpanzee who outperforms college students on a memory test
  92. Video of chimpanzee food sharing
  93. Chimpanzees Successfully Play the Ultimatum Game: Apes' Sense of Fairness Confirmed
  94. Chimpanzees' Contagious Yawning Evidence of Empathy, Not Just Sleepiness, Study Shows based on Ingroup-Outgroup Bias in Contagious Yawning by Chimpanzees Supports Link to Empathy
  95. Why Do You Care About Fairness? Ask A Chimp
  96. Chimps are sensitive to what is right and wrong: 'Bystander effect' seen in chimps that only react when one of their own group is harmed
  97. Chimpanzees show ability to plan route in computer mazes
  98. Children Under Four and Children With Autism Don't Yawn Contagiously based on Contagious Yawning in Autistic and Typical Development
  99. Dogs hear our words and how we say them
  100. Dogs understand both vocabulary and intonation of human speech
  101. Dogs May Understand Human Point of View
  102. Dogs Feel Envy, Austrian Study Finds
  103. Dogs respond to goal-directed behavior at similar level to infants
  104. Dogs give friends food
  105. Domestication of Dogs May Have Elaborated On a Pre-Existing Capacity of Wolves to Learn from Humans
  106. Too Dog Tired to Avoid Danger: Like Humans, Dogs Engage in Riskier Behaviors When Their Self-Control Is Depleted
    Comment: People are also more likely to say or do things they really don't mean, or later regret, when they are exhausted, such as some of my blog postings during my years of extreme sleep deprivation. Toward the end of a few long night shifts in the ER (especially if I began the 12 – 15-hour shift exhausted), I said some things I ordinarily wouldn't say. Nothing shocking, just a bit too much relaxation of the normal self-censoring most of us (except Vice President Biden) routinely do. I give him a pass because of his prior brain surgery, but dog-tired people deserve a bit of understanding that what comes out when they're drained is not them. If everyone were judged by their worst behavior, we'd all be in trouble. Or prison.
  107. Dogs' Intelligence On Par With Two-Year-Old Human, Canine Researcher Says
  108. Your dog remembers what you did
  109. Dogs May Mourn as Deeply as Humans Do
  110. Fido the dog: one of the most poignant stories ever told.
  111. Canine Comfort: Do Dogs Know When You're Sad? (Yes!)
  112. Human Yawns Unleash Dog Yawns
  113. Captive Animals Show Signs of Boredom, Study Finds and Bored Mink Snack Between Meals, Lie Awake in Bed; Enriching Surroundings Reduces Signs of Boredom in Caged Mink; both based on Environmental Enrichment Reduces Signs of Boredom in Caged Mink
  114. Self-Medication in Animals Much More Widespread Than Believed
  115. Animal smarts: What do dolphins and dogs know?
  116. Dolphin Caught in Fishing Line Approaches Divers for Help
  117. Dolphins Keep Lifelong Social Memories, Longest in a Non-Human Species
  118. Dolphin Cognitive Abilities Raise Ethical Questions, Says Emory Neuroscientist
  119. Fish just want to have fun, according to a new study that finds even fish 'play'
  120. Could fish have consciousness? 'Emotional fever' experiment suggests they might
  121. Female fish judge males on DIY skills, study shows
  122. Rats will try to save other rats from drowning
  123. Baboons prefer to spend time with others of the same age, status and even personality
    Comment: Just like people!
  124. Animal Personalities Are More Like Humans Than First Thought
  125. Crocodiles Are Cleverer Than Previously Thought: Some Crocodiles Use Lures to Hunt Their Prey
  126. Crocodiles just wanna have fun, too
  127. Sharks have personalities, study shows
  128. Baboons Display 'Reading' Skills, Study Suggests; Monkeys Identify Specific Combinations of Letters in Words based on Orthographic Processing in Baboons (Papio papio)
  129. Linguistic methods uncover sophisticated meanings, monkey dialects
  130. Cats seem to grasp the laws of physics
  131. To tool or not to tool? Clever cockatoos make economic decisions about tool use
  132. Chicken Sails Around The World With Her … Dad
  133. Chicken Was So Depressed — Until She Found An Orphaned Turkey
  134. When horses are in trouble they ask humans for help
  135. Could goats become our new best friend?
    Excerpt: “The researchers hope the study will lead to a better understanding of how skilled livestock are in their aptitude to solve problems and interact with humans based on their cognitive abilities …”
  136. Sick animals limit disease transmission by isolating themselves from their peers
    Comment: If only all humans were that smart!
  137. Fish lose their unique personality when they go to 'school'
    Excerpt: “Despite individual animals having their own personality, this gets suppressed when they make decisions together in a group …”
    Comment: Ditto for humans, and there's a name for this.
  138. Animal magnetism: Why dogs do their business pointing north: Dogs align north-south when defecating, foxes pounce north-east, and that’s just the start. Where does this magnetic sense come from – and do we have it too?
  139. A Look at the World's Most Intelligent Animals
  140. Don’t worry, bee happy: Bees found to have emotions and moods
  141. Monkeys Also Reason Through Analogy, Study Shows
  142. Monkey Math: Baboons Show Brain's Ability to Understand Numbers

Video of monkey performing math better than many humans:

Comment: These (and other) studies suggest that some animals are more intelligent than some humans.

Video of a crow using a jar lid to repeatedly slide down a snowy roof demonstrates intelligence and playfulness:

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Buying Eggs

Chickens and turkeys 'closer to dinosaur ancestors' than other birds

The meat paradox: “When we eat [meat], we do it in denial. … by referring to what we eat as "beef" instead of "cow", we have created a distance between our food and an animal with abilities to think and feel. Philosophers and animal rights activists have long claimed that we avoid thinking about the animal we eat, and that this reduces the feeling of unease.”

“I dream of a better world—one where chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.”

The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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