About that spark…

I often wonder to what extent humans are impacting the evolution of animals.  Not in the usual sense that is fashionable today — to focus on what man is destroying in previously fecund ecosystems — but in the sense of our intelligence rubbing off on our domesticated worker beasts and companions as well as on wild animals in our care in zoos and reserves.  Accounting for historical adaptability of species, it stands to reason that animals are bound to change in some way due to their interaction with humankind.  Has the partnership with men kicked equine evolution up a notch or two?  Are dogs becoming smarter over the generations because of their special relationship with us?  Do the emotions of pets emanate from mimicry, or have we simply underestimated the ability of animals to feel?  Do animals in zoos actually assign a value to their captors/keepers/overlords/gods/enemies?

A chimpanzee in Sweden demonstrates the capacity to plan ahead by collecting stone weapons for later use against zoo visitors.  He’s not just defending his turf, but he’s making advance preparations in support of the conceptual goal of defending his turf.  That’s not something generally expected from a non-human.

As we gain more knowledge of animal psychology, and as animals evolve around us — and occasionally emulate us — we’re going to have to re-examine the current bright line between man and beast.  It’s likely to have more colors than just light and dark.


2 Responses to “About that spark…”

  1. pochp Says:

    Some animals are surely more intelligent than man.
    Imagine an elephant actually painting with its snout- and the painting was good!

  2. celticglen Says:

    I believe that all animal life has intelligence, perhaps some more so than others, and that some animals have more intelligence than some humans.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: