Saturday, December 04, 2004

Mitzi and the Animals - Part 2 (and maybe religion,too)

"I read the news today. Oh, boy. . ."

I just finished reading an item out of Arizona. A professor has been studying prairie dog language - yep, they have one. What he has found is rather astounding and seems to raise the bar on inner species communication. He claims to have proof that these little critters have very specific "words" - their own chattering clicks, yeeps, and barks - for very specific things - even to distinguishing coyote from owl. Not only that but they as individuals in different prairie dog colonies, they can come up with the same "word" for a new object.

To show this the professor used three black cutouts: one of a coyote, one of a hawk and one of oval and ran them through the colonies - there are few black ovals in the desert. All colonies had the same "word" for the first two and then developed the same word for the oval.

What does all this mean? It seems to go beyond the ability of a gorilla to learn sign language - a human language - and show that animals can develop their own communication - not just calls for conditions - like hunger or danger - but language. Give them opposable thumbs and we humans may be in trouble.

What does this mean to mankind? Let's hope it means a step towards being able to communicate, listen to and learn from the other beings that occupy Mother Earth. Let's hope it leads to a different value system - honoring Mother instead of using Her up.

What does this mean to Snow White, the Later Years? Another step to my vegetarian diet. And maybe even. . .a short story. How about a fantasy: How a prairie dog colony saved a wagon train? Maybe how animals saved the humans? Nah - they've been doing that for centuries and no one has really cared - we still use and abuse them just like we use and abuse each other.

There are many lessons to be learned from animals but are we humans smart enough to listen to them.

I wonder what Sneaky Pie Brown would have to say? If only I could understand cat.


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