Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though....That's the problem - The Tao of Pooh
My colleague talks with her parrot. Talks with, not to Henrietta. A lot of conversation revolves around the usual family things−what's for dinner, what everyone did during the day, who's seeing whom (and who isn't), the weather, and can't we have that yummy dessert tonight? The two best friends also talk about how they are feeling, philosophy, and how to navigate the stress that afflicts hearts and souls of everyone on the planet.
Talking with the animals may sound like a page out of Dr. Doolittle, but these encounters can no longer be shrugged off as just-so stories. Once upon a time, science depicted our animal kin as wind-up bundles of neurons and muscles poised to react only when stimulated by the right kind of signal-a fang-baring lion, the smell of a flower, or some unthinking, ancestral impulse that prompts a mother to care for the nuzzling infant at her side. Animals did not think, let alone feel.
No more. Science has made a complete 180-degree turn in perception and concept when it comes to animal minds. Diverse disciplines have reached the same conclusion. Animals have brains and minds like humans, and communing and conversing with the family dog, cat, or parrot is as natural and scientifically plausible as a therapist talking shop with an associate.
Instead of counting species differences, today's scientists are in the business of tallying up human similarities to whales, elephants, parrots, chimpanzees, and more−including, some insist, invertebrates. For instance, take the ungainly octopus. They may look other-worldy but octopi have distinct personalities, a sense of humour, and invent clever ways to dupe and delight their keepers to pass time in the confines of their captive homes. A grand nineteen personality traits have been reported in a study conducted at the Seattle Aquarium whose tentacled residents include gentle Larry, the reclusive Emily Dickinson, and taciturn Lucretia. From genes to behaviour to brains, we are kin under the skin with furred, feathered, scaled, and finned members of the animal kingdom.
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