Captive birds have even been taught to speak. Breeding They are solitary nesters, creating bulky nests out of twigs and branches lined with roots, moss, wool, and rags daubed with mud and dung. They build frequently on cliff faces or high in large trees, but have been known to nest in old buildings, or even in low bushes or on the ground in undisturbed open country. Their clutch consists of three to seven averaging five eggs in various shades from light blue to greenish blue or blotched olive, gray and brown.
Ravens usually lay in February, but it varies depending on the climate as late as April in Greenland, or as early as December in Pakistan. Incubation is 18 - 21 days, with a sitting female, and the male will bring food to the nest. The young ravens fledge at 35 - 42 days, are fed by both parents, and stay with the pair for six months afterwards.
Habits We usually observe ravens in pairs or family parties, but non-breeders gather in large groups at feeding sites or communal roosting. Their territories are large between 17 and 44 sq. Flocks usually number in the tens, but flocks of more than have been seen at feeding sites in harsher environments such as Iran or the Shetlands, or in winter.
Ravens enjoy playful flight patterns, such as soaring, tumbling and rolling. Their longer wings make them quite agile aerial acrobats. Diet They are omnivorous eaters, preferring to scavenge, but able to kill when necessary. They prefer carrion - dead sheep, cattle, rabbits and fish, but will also eat nestling birds and eggs, rodents, shellfish, insects, seeds, berries and grain. They have been known, in Greenland, to hunt and kill ptarmigan in flight, and to kill puffins emerging from their burrows. Ravens will also hide and store food for later use. Near human habitations, they boldly scavenge in garbage dumps and for slaughter house scraps.
In northern regions they have been observed to hunt cooperatively with wolves. Ravens will alert wolves to prey, wait for the kill, then feed. Wolves and ravens have also been seen to engage in playful behavior with each other, ravens swooping down at the wolves, who will chase them playfully. Enemies Ravens have been heavily persecuted by man, especially in farmlands where they will eat the seed and grain. In some regions the species have disappeared completely. Corvophobia is the unnatural fear of corvids, especially ravens and crows. This fear has been promulgated throughout literature, such as the words of Edgar Alan Poe, who described them as ".
A study in New York found a single family of crows to devour about forty thousand pests in one nesting season. In the animal world, ravens natural enemies are the great horned owl and red tail hawk. Ravens will cooperate together and mob these bigger birds to drive them off. Intelligence In spite of these obstacles, ravens as well as the other corvids are a highly successful species due to their high level of intelligence, flexibility, and adaptability. In The Audobon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds, ornithologist John Terres writes, "Corvids have probably achieved the highest degree of intelligence to be found in any birds.
Naturalist Tony Angell has proven in controlled laboratory experiments that ravens are "superior in intelligence to all other avian species tested. A tale told by Aesop informs us that the intelligence of corvids has long been known.
A Journey Into the Animal Mind
A thirsty crow found a pitcher of water, but the water was too far below the rim for his beak to reach. The clever crow began dropping pebbles into the pitcher, raising the water level until it reached the brim, where she could quench her thirst.
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At Oxford University in England, ornithologists conducted an unusual experiment with two New Caledonian Crows named Betty and Abel, reported in the August 9, issue of the journal Science. They placed a tiny bucket of meat inside a pipe, and left two pieces of wire in their cage, one hooked and one straight, to see if the birds would choose the hooked wire to retrieve the bucket of meat, proving that birds were "tool users" on a par with higher levels of animal intelligence.
This elevates ravens from "tool users" to "tool makers", which places them on a par with primates. According to neurologist Stanley Cobb, birds do not have a complex cerebral cortex, such as mammals do, but rather, they have developed their hyperstraiatum, a part of their forebrain, that can carry out complex functions.
Corvids, especially Ravens, Crows, and Magpies, have the largest brain size i. They slept until the black raven, the blithe hearted proclaimed the joy of heaven Beowulf. Native American According to Jamie Sams and David Carson, in their excellent book Medicine Cards which accompanies a beautiful deck of animal cards , Raven's medicine is magic. She is the Great Mystery of the Void. Black, to Native Americans, is a color of magical power, and only to be feared if misused.
Raven symbolizes the void - the mystery of that which is not yet formed. Ravens are symbolic of the Black Hole in Space, which draws in all energy toward itself and releases it in new forms. The iridescent blue and green that can be seen in the glossy black feathers of the raven represents the constant change of forms and shapes that emerge from the vast blackness of the void. In Native American tradition, Raven is the guardian of both ceremonial magic and healing circles. She is also the patron of smoke signals.
Raven's element is air, and she is a messenger spirit, which Native American shamans use to project their magic over great distances. Observing ravens in nature, we find that they often steal food from under the noses of other animals, often working in pairs to distract the unfortunate beasts. China Ravens are considered a solar symbol in Chinese mythology. The three legged raven lives in the sun, representing the sun's three phases - rising, noon and setting. When the sunlight hits their glossy black feathers just right, they seem to turn to silver. India Brahma appears as a raven in one of his incarnations.
Ravens are also sacred to Shiva and Kali. Australia In Aborigine mythology, Raven tried to steal fire from seven sisters the Pleides , and was charred black in the unsuccessful attempt. Middle East To Egyptians, ravens represented destruction and malevolence. Ravens were cursed by Noah for not returning to the ark with news of the receding the flood. Yet, conversely, the Bible also says that ravens were the protectors of the prophets; they fed Elijah and Paul the Hermit in the wilderness.
Also, ravens helped St. Cuthbert and St. In contradictory Christian traditions, ravens represent the solitude of the holy hermits, yet also the souls of wicked priests and witches. European Since ravens can be taught to speak, and have such a complex vocabulary of their own, they are connected symbolically to both wisdom and prophecy. But in Europe, at least from Christian times, ravens have several strikes against them: black is considered a negative color; ravens are carrion eaters; and they have a symbiotic relationship with man's oldest enemy, the wolf.
In many western traditions raven represents darkness, destructiveness and evil. They are sometimes associated with deities of evil and of death. Both witches and the Devil were said to be able to take the shape of a raven. She is also associated with Athene, Hera, Cronos and Aesculapius. These flags, usually sewn by the daughters of great warriors and kings, were tokens of luck on their voyages.
It may, however, be worth while to specify a few points, not directly or obviously connected with structure, by which this correspondence or relationship is well shewn. Dally, 'L'Ordre des Primates et le Transformisme,' , p. These monkeys suffered also from apoplexy, inflammation of the bowels, and cataract in the eye.
The younger ones when shedding their milk-teeth often died from fever. Medicines produced the same effect on them as on us. Many kinds of monkeys have a strong taste for tea, coffee, and spirituous liquors: they will also, as I have myself seen, smoke tobacco with pleasure. Brehm asserts that the natives of north-eastern Africa catch the wild baboons by exposing vessels with strong beer, by which they are made drunk. He has seen some of these animals, which he kept in confinement, in this state; and he gives a laughable account of their behaviour and strange grimaces.
On the following morning they were very cross and dismal; they held their aching heads with both hands and wore a most pitiable expression: when beer or wine was offered them, they turned away with disgust, but relished the juice of lemons. These trifling facts prove how similar the nerves of taste must be in monkeys and man, and how similarly their whole nervous system is affected.
Man is infested with internal parasites, sometimes causing fatal effects, and is plagued by external parasites, all of which belong to the same genera or families with those infesting other mammals. Man is subject like other mammals, birds, and even insects, to that mysterious law, which causes certain normal processes, such as gestation, as well as the maturation and duration of various diseases, to follow lunar periods. On the Ateles, s. For other analogous statements, see s. Macculloch, 'Silli-. The whole process of that most important function, the reproduction of the species, is strikingly the same in all mammals, from the first act of courtship by the male 7 to the birth and nurturing of the young.
Monkeys are born in almost as helpless a condition as our own infants; and in certain genera the young differ fully as much in appearance from the adults, as do our children from their full-grown parents. Primum, credo, odoratu, postea aspectu. Youatt, qui diu in Hortis Zoologicis Bestiariis medicus animal-ium erat, vir in rebus observandis cautus et sagax, hoc mihi certissime probavit, et curatores ejusdem loci et alii e ministris confirmaverunt.
Sir Andrew Smith et Brehm notabant idem in Cynocephalo. Narrat enim Cynocephalum quendam in furorem incidere aspectu feminarum aliquarum, sed nequaquam accendi tanto furore ab omnibus. Semper eligebat juniores, et dignoscebat in turba, et advocabat voce gestuque. Cuvier, 'Hist. It is, in short, scarcely possible to exaggerate the close correspondence in general structure, in the minute structure of the tissues, in chemical composition and in constitution, between man and the higher animals, especially the anthropomorphous apes.
Embryonic Development. The embryo itself at a very early period can hardly be distinguished from that of other members of the vertebrate kingdom. At a somewhat later period, when the extremities are developed, "the feet of lizards and mammals," as the illustrious Von Baer remarks, "the wings and feet of birds, no less than the hands and feet of man, all arise from the same fundamental form.
Huxley, 10 "quite in the later stages of development that the young human being presents marked differences from the young ape, while the latter departs as much from the dog in its developments, as the man does. Startling as this last assertion may appear to be, it is demonstrably true. As some of my readers may never have seen a drawing of an embryo, I have given one of man and another of a dog, at about the same early stage of development,. Upper figure human embryo, from Ecker.
Lower figure that of a dog, from Bischoff. After the foregoing statements made by such high authorities, it would be superfluous on my part to give a number of borrowed details, shewing that the embryo of man closely resembles that of other mammals. It may, however, be added that the human embryo like-wise resembles in various points of structure certain low forms when adult. For instance, the heart at first exists as a simple pulsating vessel; the excreta are voided through a cloacal passage; and the os coccyx projects like a true tail, "extending considerably beyond the rudimentary legs.
Owen remarks, 15 "which forms the fulcrum when standing or walking, is perhaps the most characteristic. This embryo was ten lines in length, so that the drawing is much magnified. The embryo of the dog is from Bischoff, 'Entwicklungsgeschichte des Hunde-Eies,' , tab. This drawing is five times magnified, the embryo being 25 days old. The internal viscera have been omitted, and the uterine appendages in both drawings removed. I was directed to these figures by Prof.
Huxley, from whose work, 'Man's Place in Nature,' the idea of giving them was taken. Wyman in 'Proc. Wyman 16 found "that the great toe was shorter than the others, and, instead of being parallel to them, projected at an angle from the side of the foot, thus corresponding with the permanent condition of this part in the quadrumana.
Rudimentary organs must be distinguished from those that are nascent; though in some cases the distinction is not eary. Canestrini, to which paper I am considerably indebted. Organs in this latter state are not strictly rudimentary, but they are tending in this direction.
Nascent organs, on the other hand, though not fully developed, are of high service to their possessors, and are capable of further development. Rudimentary organs are eminently variable; and this is partly intelligible, as they are useless or nearly useless, and consequently are no longer subjected to natural selection. They often become wholly suppressed. When this occurs, they are nevertheless liable to occasional reappearance through reversion; and this is a circumstance well worthy of attention.
Disuse at that period of life, when an organ is chiefly used, and this is generally during maturity, together with inheritance at a corresponding period of life, seem to have been the chief agents in causing organs to become rudimentary. The term "disuse" does not relate merely to the lessened action of muscles, but includes a diminished flow of blood to a part or organ, from being subjected to fewer alternations of pressure, or from becoming in any way less habitually active.
Rudiments, however, may occur in one sex of parts normally present in the other sex; and such rudiments, as we shall hereafter see, have often originated in a distinct manner. In some cases organs have been reduced by means of natural selection, from having become injurious to the species under changed habits of life. The process of reduction is probably often aided through the two principles of compensation and economy of growth; but the later stages of reduction, after disuse has done all that can fairly be attributed to it, and when the saving to be effected by the economy of growth would be very small, 19 are difficult to understand.
The final and com-.
The vitality of grief
Murie and Mivart, in 'Transact. But as the whole subject of rudimentary organs has been fully discussed and illustrated in my former works, 20 I need here say no more on this head. Rudiments of various muscles have been observed in many parts of the human body; 21 and not a few muscles, which are regularly present in some of the lower animals can occasionally be detected in man in a greatly reduced condition.
Every one must have noticed the power which many animals, especially horses, possess of moving or twitching their skin; and this is effected by the panniculus carnosus. Remnants of this muscle in an efficient state are found in various parts of our bodies; for instance, on the forehead, by which the eyebrows are raised. The platysma myoides, which is well developed on the neck, belongs to this system, but cannot be voluntarily brought into action. He has also shewn 22 that the musculus sternalis or sternalis brutorum, which is not an extension of the rectus abdominalis, but is closely allied to the panniculus, oc-.
See also 'Origin of Species,' 5th edit. Richard 'Annales des Sciences Nat. Some few persons have the power of contracting the superficial muscles on their scalps; and these muscles are in a variable and partially rudimentary condition. He knows a family, in which one member, the present head of a family, could, when a youth, pitch several heavy books from his head by the movement of the scalp alone; and he won wagers by performing this feat.
His father, uncle, grandfather, and all his three children possess the same power to the same unusual degree. This family became divided eight generations ago into two branches; so that the head of the above-mentioned branch is cousin in the seventh degree to the head of the other branch. This distant cousin resides in another part of France, and on being asked whether he possessed the same faculty, immediately exhibited his power. This case offers a good illustration how persistently an absolutely useless faculty may be transmitted. The extrinsic muscles which serve to move the whole external ear, and the intrinsic muscles which move the different parts, all of which belong to the system of the panniculus, are in a rudimentary condition in man; they are also variable in development, or at least in function.
I have seen one man who could draw his ears forwards, and another who could draw them backwards; The faculty of erecting the ears and of directing them to different points of the compass, is no doubt of the highest service to many animals, as they thus perceive the point of danger; but I have never heard of a man who possessed the least power of erecting his ears,—the one movement which might be of use to him.
Some authors, however, suppose that the cartilage of the shell serves to transmit vibrations to the acoustic nerve; but Mr. Toynbee, 24 after collecting all the known evidence on this head, concludes that the external shell is of no distinct use. The ears of the chimpanzee and organ are curiously like those of man, and I am assured by the keepers in the Zoological Gardens that these animals never move or erect them; so that they are in an equally rudimentary condition, as far as function is concerned, as in man.
Why these animals, as well as the progenitors of man, should have lost the power of erecting their ears we cannot say. It may be, though I am not quite satisfied with this view, that owing to their arboreal habits and great strength they were but little exposed to danger, and so during a lengthened period moved their ears but little, and thus gradually lost the power of moving them. This would be a parallel case with that of those large and heavy birds,. The celebrated sculptor, Mr.
Woolner, informs me of one little peculiarity in the external ear, which he has often observed both in men and women, and of which he perceived the full signification. His attention was first called to the subject whilst at work on his figure of Puck, to which he had given pointed ears. He was thus led to examine the ears of various monkeys, and subsequently more carefully those of man.
The peculiarity consists in a little blunt point, projecting from the inwardly folded margin, or helix. Woolner made an exact model of one such case, and has sent me the accompanying drawing. These points not only project inwards, but often a little outwards, so that they are visible when the head is viewed from directly in front or behind. They are variable in size and somewhat in position, standing either a little higher or lower; and they sometimes occur on one ear and not on the other.
Now the meaning of these projections is not, I think, doubtful; but it may be thought that they offer too trifling a character to be worth notice. This thought, however, is as false as it is natural. Every character, however slight, must be the result of some definite cause; and if it occurs in many individuals deserves consideration. The helix obviously consists of the extreme margin of the ear folded inwards; and this folding appears to be in some manner connected with the. In many monkeys, which do not stand high in the order, as baboons and some species of macacus, 25 the upper portion of the ear is slightly pointed, and the margin is not at all folded inwards; but if the margin were to be thus folded, a slight point would necessarily project inwards and probably a little outwards.
This could actually be observed in a specimen of the Ateles beelzebuth in the Zoological Gardens; and we may safely conclude that it is a similar structure—a vestige of formerly pointed ears—which occasionally reappears in man. The nictitating membrane, or third eyelid, with its accessory muscles and other structures, is especially well developed in birds, and is of much functional importance to them, as it can be rapidly drawn across the whole eye-ball.
It is found in some reptiles and amphibians, and in certain fishes, as in sharks. It is fairly well developed in the two lower divisions of the mammalian series, namely, in the monotremata and marsupials, and in some few of the higher mammals, as in the walrus. But in man, the quadrumana, and most other mammals, it exists, as is admitted by all anatomists, as a mere rudiment, called the semilunar fold. The sense of smell is of the highest importance to the greater number of mammals—to some, as the ruminants, in warning them of danger; to others, as the.
Murie and Mivart's excellent paper in 'Transact. Owen, 'Anatomy of Vertebrates,' vol. See also R. Knox, 'Great Artists and Anatomists,' p.
But the sense of smell is of extremely slight service, if any, even to savages, in whom it is generally more highly developed than in the civilised races. It does not warn them of danger, nor guide them to their food; nor does it prevent the Esquimaux from sleeping in the most fetid atmosphere, nor many savages from eating half-putrid meat. Those who believe in the principle of gradual evolution, will not readily admit that this sense in its present state was originally acquired by man, as he now exists.
No doubt he inherits the power in an enfeebled and so far rudimentary condition, from some early progenitor, to whom it was highly serviceable and by whom it was continually used. We can thus perhaps understand how it is, as Dr. Maudsley has truly remarked, 27 that the sense of smell in man "is singularly effective in recalling vividly the ideas and images of forgotten scenes and places;" for we see in those animals, which have this sense highly developed, such as dogs and horses, that old recollections of persons and places are strongly associated with their odour.
Man differs conspicuously from all the other Primates in being almost naked. But a few short straggling hairs are found over the greater part of the body in the male sex, and fine down on that of the female sex. In individuals belonging to the same race these hairs are highly variable, not only in abundance, but like-wise in position: thus the shoulders in some Europeans are quite naked, whilst in others they bear thick tufts of hair.
I shall often have to refer to this very curious paper. This view is rendered all the more probable, as it is known that fine, short, and pale-coloured hairs on the limbs and other parts of the body occasionally become developed into "thickset, long, and rather coarse dark hairs," when abnormally nourished near old-standing inflamed surfaces.
I am informed by Mr. Paget that persons belonging to the same family often have a few hairs in their eyebrows much longer than the others; so that this slight peculiarity seems to be inherited. In a young chimpanzee I observed that a few upright, rather long, hairs, projected above the eyes, where the true eyebrows, if present, would have stood.
It is first developed, during the fifth month, on the eyebrows and face, and especially round the mouth, where it is much longer than that on the head.
The whole surface, including even the forehead and ears, is thus thickly clothed; but it is a significant fact that the palms of the hands and. This representation is much more complete, in accordance with the usual law of embryological development, than that afforded by the straggling hairs on the body of the adult. It appears as if the posterior molar or wisdom-teeth were tending to become rudimentary in the more civilised races of man.
These teeth are rather smaller than the other molars, as is likewise the case with the corresponding teeth in the chimpanzee and orang; and they have only two separate fangs. They do not cut through the gums till about the seventeenth year, and I am assured by dentists that they are much more liable to decay, and are earlier lost, than the other teeth.
It is also remarkable that they are much more liable to vary both in structure and in the period of their development than the other teeth. Schaaffhausen accounts for this difference between the races by "the posterior dental portion of the jaw being always shortened" in those that are civilised, 33 and this shortening may, I presume, be safely attributed to civi-.
Carter Blake in 'Anthropological Review,' July, , p. Brace that it is becoming quite a common practice in the United States to remove some of the molar teeth of children, as the jaw does not grow large enough for the perfect development of the normal number. In the marsupial kaola it is actually more than thrice as long as the whole body. That this appendage is a rudiment, we may infer from its small size, and from the evidence which Prof.
Canestrini 35 has collected of its variability in man. It is occasionally quite absent, or again is largely developed. The passage is sometimes completely closed for half or two-thirds of its length, with the terminal part consisting of a flattened solid expansion. Not only is it useless, but it is sometimes the cause of death, of which fact I have lately heard two instances: this is due to small hard bodies,.
In the Quadrumana and some other orders of mammals, especially in the Carnivora, there is a passage near the lower end of the humerus, called the supra-condyloid foramen, through which the great nerve of the fore limb passes, and often the great artery. Now in the humerus of man, as Dr. Struthers 37 and others have shewn, there is generally a trace of this passage, and it is sometimes fairly well developed, being formed by a depending hook-like process of bone, completed by a band of ligament. When present the great nerve invariably passes through it, and this clearly indicates that it is the homologue and rudiment of the supra-condyloid foramen of the lower animals.
Turner estimates, as he informs me, that it occurs in about one per cent. Busk 38 has collected the following evidence on this head: Prof. Broca "noticed the perforation in four and a half per cent. See also an important memoir on this process by Dr. Grube, in the 'Bulletin de l'Acad.
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Congress of Prehist. Dupont found 30 per cent. Leguay, in a sort of dolmen at Argenteuil, observed twenty-five per cent. Pruner-Bey found twenty-six per cent. Nor should it be left unnoticed that M. Pruner-Bey states that this condition is common in Guanche skeletons. One chief cause seems to be that ancient races stand somewhat nearer than modern races in the long line of descent to their remote animal-like progenitors.
The os coccyx in man, though functionless as a tail, plainly represents this part in other vertebrate animals. At an early embryonic period it is free, and, as we have seen, projects beyond the lower extremities. In certain rare and anomalous cases it has been known, according to Isidore Geoffroy St. Turner, has been expressly described by Theile as a rudimentary repetition of the extensor of the tail, which is so largely developed in many mammals.
The spinal cord in man extends only as far downwards as the last dorsal or first lumbar vertebra; but a. The upper part of this filament, as Prof. Turner informs me, is undoubtedly homologous with the spinal cord; but the lower part apparently consists merely of the pia mater, or vascular investing membrane. Even in this case the os coccyx may be said to possess a vestige of so important a structure as the spinal cord, though no longer enclosed within a bony canal. The following fact, for which I am also indebted to Prof.
Turner, shews how closely the os coccyx corresponds with the true tail in the lower animals: Luschka has recently discovered at the extremity of the coccygeal bones a very peculiar convoluted body, which is continuous with the middle sacral artery; and this discovery led Krause and Meyer to examine the tail of a monkey Macacus and of a cat, in both of which they found, though not at the extremity, a similarly convoluted body. The reproductive system offers various rudimentary structures; but these differ in one important respect from the foregoing cases.
We are not here concerned with a vestige of a part which does not belong to the species in an efficient state; but with a part which is always present and efficient in the one sex, being represented in the other by a mere rudiment. Nevertheless, the occurrence of such rudiments is as difficult to explain on the belief of the separate creation of each species, as in the foregoing cases. Hereafter I shall have to recur to these rudiments, and shall shew that their presence generally depends merely on inheritance; namely, on parts acquired by one sex having been partially transmitted to the other.
Here I will only give some instances of such rudiments. It is well known that in the males of all mammals, in. These in several instances have become well developed, and have yielded a copious supply of milk. Their essential identity in the two sexes is likewise shewn by their occasional sympathetic enlargement in both during an attack of the measles.
The vesicula prostratica, which has been observed in many male mammals, is now universally acknowledged to be the homologue of the female uterus, together with the connected passage. It is impossible to read Leuckart's able description of this organ, and his reasoning, without admitting the justness of his conclusion. This is especially clear in the case of those mammals in which the true female uterus bifurcates, for in the males of these the vesicula likewise bifurcates. The bearing of the three great classes of facts now given is unmistakeable.
But it would be superfluous here fully to recapitulate the line of argument given in detail in my 'Origin of Species. It is no scientific. In man this organ is only from three to six lines in length, but, like so many other rudimentary parts, it is variable in development as well as in other characters. With respect to development, we can clearly understand, on the principle of variations supervening at a rather late embryonic period, and being inherited at a corresponding period, how it is that the embryos of wonderfully different forms should still retain, more or less perfectly, the structure of their common progenitor.
In order to understand the existence of rudimentary organs, we have only to suppose that a former progenitor possessed the parts in question in a perfect state, and that under changed habits of life they became greatly reduced, either from simple disuse, or through the natural selection of those individuals which were least encumbered with a superfluous part, aided by the other means previously indicated. Thus we can understand how it has come to pass that man and all other vertebrate animals have been constructed on the same general model, why they pass through the same early stages of development, and why they retain certain rudiments in common.
Consequently we ought frankly to admit their community of descent: to take any other view, is to admit that our own structure and that of all the animals around us, is a mere snare laid to entrap our judgment. This conclusion is greatly strengthened, if we look to the members of the whole animal series, and consider the evidence derived from their affinities or classification, their geographical distribution and geological succession.
It is only our natural prejudice, and that arrogance which made our forefathers declare that they were descended from demi-gods, which leads us to demur to. But the time will before long come when it will be thought wonderful, that naturalists, who were well acquainted with the comparative structure and development of man and other mammals, should have believed that each was the work of a separate act of creation.
The difference in mental power between the highest ape and the lowest savage, immense — Certain instincts in common — The emotions — Curiosity — Imitation — Attention — Memory — Imagination — Reason — Progressive improvement — Tools and weapons used by animals — Language — Self-consciousness — Sense of beauty — Belief in God, spiritual agencies, superstitions. WE have seen in the last chapter that man bears in his bodily structure clear traces of his descent from some lower form; but it may be urged that, as man differs so greatly in his mental power from all other animals, there must be some error in this conclusion.
No doubt the difference in this respect is enormous, even if we compare the mind of one of the lowest savages, who has no words to express any number higher than four, and who uses no abstract terms for the commonest objects or affections, 1 with that of the most highly organised ape.
The difference would, no doubt, still remain immense, even if one of the higher apes had been improved or civilised as much as a dog has been in comparison with its parent-form, the wolf or jackal. The Fuegians rank amongst the lowest barbarians; but I was continually struck with surprise how closely the three natives on board H. If no. But it can be clearly shewn that there is no fundamental difference of this kind. We must also admit that there is a much wider interval in mental power between one of the lowest fishes, as a lamprey or lancelet, and one of the higher apes, than between an ape and man; yet this imense interval is filled up by numberless gradations.
Nor is the difference slight in moral disposition between a barbarian, such as the man described by the old navigator Byron, who dashed his child on the rocks for dropping a basket of sea-urchins, and a Howard or Clarkson; and in intellect, between a savage who does not use any abstract terms, and a Newton or Shakspeare.
Differences of this kind between the highest men of the highest races and the lowest savages, are connected by the finest gradations. Therefore it is possible that they might pass and be developed into each other. My object in this chapter is solely to shew that there is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties. Each division of the subject might have been extended into a separate essay, but must here be treated briefly. As no classification of the mental powers has been universally accepted, I shall arrange my remarks in the order most convenient for my purpose; and will select those facts which have most struck me, with the hope that they may produce some effect on the reader.
With respect to animals very low in the scale, I shall have to give some additional facts under Sexual Selection, shewing that their mental powers are higher than. The variability of the faculties in the individuals of the same species is an important point for us, and some few illustrations will here be given. But it would be superfluous to enter into many details on this head, for I have found on frequent enquiry, that it is the unanimous opinion of all those who have long attended to animals of many kinds, including birds, that the individuals differ greatly in every mental characteristic.
In what manner the mental powers were first developed in the lowest organisms, is as hopeless an enquiry as how life first originated. These are problems for the distant future, if they are ever to be solved by man. As man possesses the same senses with the lower animals, his fundamental intuitions must be the same. Man has also some few instincts in common, as that of self-preservation, sexual love, the love of the mother for her new-born offspring, the power possessed by the latter of sucking, and so forth.
But man, perhaps, has somewhat fewer instincts than those possessed by the animals which come next to him in the series. The orang in the Eastern islands, and the chimpanzee in Africa, build platforms on which they sleep; and, as both species follow the same habit, it might be argued that this was due to instinct, but we cannot feel sure that it is not the result of both animals having similar wants and possessing similar powers of reasoning.
These apes, as we may assume, avoid the many poisonous fruits of the tropics, and man has no such knowledge; but as our domestic animals, when taken to foreign lands and when first turned out in the spring, often eat poisonous herbs, which they afterwards avoid, we cannot feel sure that the apes do not learn from their own experience or from that of their parents what fruits to select. It is however certain, as we shall presently see, that apes have. The fewness and the comparative simplicity of the instincts in the higher animals are remarkable in contrast with those of the lower animals.
Cuvier maintained that instinct and intelligence stand in an inverse ratio to each other; and some have thought that the intellectual faculties of the higher animals have been gradually developed from their instincts. But Pouchet, in an interesting essay, 2 has shewn that no such inverse ratio really exists. Those insects which possess the most wonderful instincts are certainly the most intelligent.
In the vertebrate series, the least intelligent members, namely fishes and amphibians, do not possess complex instincts; and amongst mammals the animal most remarkable for its instincts, namely the beaver, is highly intelligent, as will be admitted by every one who has read Mr. Morgan's excellent account of this animal.
Although the first dawnings of intelligence, according to Mr. Herbert Spencer, 4 have been developed through the multiplication and co-ordination of reflex actions, and although many of the simpler instincts graduate into actions of this kind and can hardly be distinguished from them, as in the case of young animals sucking, yet the more complex instincts seem to have originated independently of intelligence. I am, however, far from wishing to deny that instinctive actions may lose their fixed and untaught character, and be replaced by others performed by the aid of the free will.
On the other hand, some intelligent actions—as when birds on oceanic islands first learn to avoid man—after. They may then be said to be degraded in character, for they are no longer performed through reason or from experience. But the greater number of the more complex instincts appear to have been gained in a wholly different manner, through the natural selection of variations of simpler instinctive actions. Such variations appear to arise from the same unknown causes acting on the cerebral organisation, which induce slight variations or individual differences in other parts of the body; and these variations, owing to our ignorance, are often said to arise spontaneously.
We can, I think, come to no other conclusion with respect to the origin of the more complex instincts, when we reflect on the marvellous instincts of sterile worker-ants and bees, which leave no offspring to inherit the effects of experience and of modified habits. Although a high degree of intelligence is certainly compatible with the existence of complex instincts, as we see in the insects just named and in the beaver, it is not improbable that they may to a certain extent interfere with each other's development. Little is known about the functions of the brain, but we can perceive that as the intellectual powers become highly developed, the various parts of the brain must be connected by the most intricate channels of intercommunication; and as a consequence each separate part would perhaps tend to become less well fitted to answer in a definite and uniform, that is instinctive, manner to particular sensations or associations.
He developed his unusual fondness for animals while tending cattle in pastures on the banks of the Yamuna River, in his home village of Shauripur, which I reached four hours after leaving Delhi. One is said to have floated perfectly still in the womb, sending not so much as a ripple through the amniotic fluid, to avoid harming his mother. Only a few Fordmakers are confirmed historical figures, and Neminath is not one of them.
The Jains say Neminath left his village for good on the day of his wedding. That morning, he mounted an elephant, intent on riding it to the temple where he was to be wed. On the way, he heard a series of agonized screams, and demanded to know their origin. This moment transformed Neminath. Some versions of this story say he freed the surviving animals, including a fish that he carried, in his hands, back to the river. Others say he fled. All agree that he renounced his former life. Rather than marry his bride, he set out for Girnar, a sacred mountain in Gujarat, 40 miles from the Arabian Sea.
M y own ascent up Girnar began before dawn. It followed the usual topography of enlightenment. I was to climb 7, steps, all built into the mountain, by nine in the morning, so as not to be late for a ritual at an ancient temple near the peak. Even today, the Asiatic lion still ranks among the rarest of the large feline predators, rarer even than its neighbor to the north, the snow leopard, which is so scarce that a glimpse of one padding down a jagged Himalayan crag is said to consummate a spiritual pilgrimage.
Daylight brought langur monkeys onto the trailside boulders. One watched a vendor set up his stall to offer food and water to passing Jain pilgrims. Monkeys that spotted a stalking cat let out a specific call. On the hike up Girnar, barefoot women kept passing me, wearing iridescent saris in bright shades of orange, green, or pink.
Their delicate silver anklets tinkled as they went. When I reached a trail marker that said I was still 1, steps from the temple, I removed my pack and hopped up onto a wall, letting my legs dangle.
Do Animals Have Feelings? - The Atlantic
Two switchbacks below, an aged Jain monk in a white robe was struggling up the steps. He looked lonely, and seemed to be having trouble breathing. When Jain monks and nuns renounce worldly life, they sever all family ties. They embrace their children one last time, and vow never to see them again, unless chance brings them together on the rural back roads where the monks and nuns wander for the rest of their lives, carrying all their possessions on their back.
The monk and I had the trail to ourselves for a moment. All was silent but for a buzzing sound that I traced to a spindly black wasp bobbing above a dense clump of bougainvillea. The last ancestor this wasp and I shared likely lived more than million years ago. The elongated shape and micro-tiled matte finish of its eyes made it seem too alien to be conscious. But appearances can deceive: Some wasps are thought to have evolved large eyes to observe social cues, and members of certain wasp species can learn the facial features of individual colony members. Wasps, like bees and ants, are hymenopterans, an order of animals that displays strikingly sophisticated behaviors.
Ants build body-to-body bridges that allow whole colonies to cross gaps in their terrain. If one picks up a novel nectar-extraction technique, surrounding bees may mimic the behavior, causing it to cascade across the colony, or even through generations. In one experiment, honeybees were attracted to a boat at the center of a lake, which scientists had stocked with sugar water.
Other scientists were not able to replicate this result, but different experiments suggest that bees are capable of consulting a mental map in this way. Andrew Barron, a neuroscientist from Macquarie University, in Australia, has spent the past decade identifying fine neural structures in honeybee brains. He thinks structures in the bee brain integrate spatial information in a way that is analogous to processes in the human midbrain. Fruit flies have only , neurons, and they too display complex behaviors.
Read: Bees love getting high on caffeine. Many invertebrate lineages never developed anything beyond a rudimentary nervous system, a network of neurons dispersed evenly through a wormlike form. But more than half a billion years ago, natural selection began to shape other squirming blobs into arthropods with distinct appendages and newly specialized sensory organs, which they used to achieve liberation from a drifting life of stimulus and response.
The first animals to direct themselves through three-dimensional space would have encountered a new set of problems whose solution may have been the evolution of consciousness. Take the black wasp. But these information streams arrived in its brain at different times. To form an accurate and continuous account of the external world, the wasp needed to sync these signals.
And it needed to correct any errors introduced by its own movements, a difficult trick given that some of its sensors are mounted on body parts that are themselves mobile, not least its swiveling head. Merker says that consciousness is just the multisensory view from inside this model. The syncing processes and the jangle and noise from our mobile bodies are all missing from this conscious view—some invisible, algorithmic Stanley Kubrick seems to edit them out.
Nor do we experience the mechanisms that convert our desires into movements. When I wished to begin hiking up the mountain again, I would simply set off, without thinking about the individual muscle contractions that each step required. When a wasp flies, it is probably not aware of its every wing beat. It may simply will itself through space. It may have been colorless and barren of sharply defined objects. It may have been episodic, flickering on in some situations and off in others. It may have been a murkily sensed perimeter of binary feelings, a bubble of good and bad experienced by something central and unitary.
To those of us who have seen stars shining on the far side of the cosmos, this existence would be claustrophobic to a degree that is scarcely imaginable. W h en the monk arrived at the wall where I was resting, the wasp flew away, rising up toward the sun until I lost it in the light.
The monk was wearing a white mask like those that some Jains wear to avoid inhaling insects and other tiny creatures. I nodded to him as he passed, and lay back against the warm stone of the mountain. The monk was a white dot some six switchbacks up by the time I hopped off the wall and continued the climb, my legs stiffened by the break. I reached the entrance to the temple complex with only 15 minutes to spare. Its marble courtyard shone brilliant white, as though bleached by the mountain sun. Forty Jains were sitting on the floor in neat rows, their legs crossed in the lotus position.
The men were dressed in all white. I wedged into a spot in the back. We faced a dark, tunnel-like space lined by two sets of columns. At the far end, candlelight illuminated a black marble statue of a seated male figure. Its barrel chest was inlaid with gemstones, as were its eyes, which appeared to float, serenely, in the dark space, inducing a hypnotic effect, broken only when the man sitting next to me tugged my shirt. It was here on this mountain that Neminath is said to have achieved a state of total, unimpeded consciousness, with perceptual access to the entire universe, including every kind of animal mind.
Jains believe that humans are special because, in our natural state, we are nearest to this experience of enlightenment. The pilgrims started singing, first in a low hum and then steadily louder. Two others bashed cymbals together. Men and women walked in from opposite doors, converging, in two lines, on either side of the tunnel. A woman wearing an orange sari and a gold crown crossed in front of Neminath, lifted a vessel over his black-marble head, and poured out a mixture of milk and blessed water. When she finished, a white-robed man from the other line did the same.
The singing grew louder until it verged on ecstatic. The pilgrims raised their arms and clapped overhead, faster and faster. A climax seemed to loom, but then it all dropped away. The drums and the bells and the cymbals went quiet, leaving a clear sonic space that was filled by a final blow on a conch. It rang out of the temple and over the ancient peaks.