While pondering the philosophies that make us humans tick, my thoughts turned to the animal kingdom and how they work things out. A documentary by
National Geographic enlightened me about my first subject:
Penguins thrive in one of the harshest environments on the planet - Antarctica. The extreme cold and bitter winds cause these birds to huddle together
to stay warm, with the ones in the center emerging to relieve those on the perimeter in a seemingly perfect harmony.
They form lifelong bonds with their mates, sharing the responsibilities of gathering food and raising young. They also have a strong maternal
instinct, and should an orphaned egg be discovered, they will compete with one another for the opportunity to incubate it and raise the hatchling as
Of course, not all birds behave like penguins do. There is one species in particular that is very different indeed:
You talkin' to ME?!
A popular style of clock has made the European Cuckoo famous. Upon further study of their habits, it appears that their reputation is lacking some
much deserved notoriety.
Stanford University researchers have published an article titled
Brood Parasitism. To summarize, cuckoos lay eggs that
impersonate, in size and appearance, the eggs of other bird species which they then lay in the nests of other birds in the hope that they will not
notice and simply raise it as one of their own.
If a host bird discovers the ruse and attempts to abandon the nest, the cuckoos will attack and harass until it complies. But that's not all ... once
the egg hatches, the cuckoo chick will attempt to shove any would-be competitors out of the nest using a specialized scoop on its back.
The task then remains for the host bird to raise it, which can be an exhaustive undertaking since it is common for the chick to outgrow its new
"parents" long before it is able to care for itself.
My last subject of study was inspired by a rather unusual tale of interspecies adoption from North Attleboro, MA:
I trust you.
For many of us, the crow is nothing but a nuisance parasite that raids farmers' fields and
stuffs up power grids.
But, of course, there always has to be one that breaks the mold.
In August 1999,
Wallace and Ann
Collito discovered what they thought to be a baby rat that had been tossed over their fence from an adjacent convenience store parking lot.
Upon closer inspection, they were attacked by a very persistent crow (that they later named Moses) who seemed intent on protecting it. Soon after, it
became apparent that it was not a rat, it was a kitten, named Cassie.
Moses would feed Cassie, protect her from harm, and even play with her until dark when she would be brought inside. So strong was the bond between the
two that every morning Moses would persistently peck at their screen door until Cassie was let out.
Not exactly the type of behavior one would expect from mortal enemies...
What's Your Point?
From studying the examples above, it can be concluded that each way of living is perfectly rational. Each species was able to ensure that their
offspring survived to carry on its legacy. However, there are many different factors aside from reason that drive our behaviors, and I believe that
animals are driven by more than mere instinct.
We humans are gifted with the ability to choose, so what say you?
Are you a penguin?
Or a crow?
edit on 25-2-2013 by KyrieEleison because: formatting
Such a cool thread! You should get more stars and flags but sometimes people's attention is diverted from what really matters by what doesn't. I
totally understand the discouragement of the poster ahead of me. People can be a disappointment and when we read things like this we realize the
animals may have less rights but they seem to have more of a plan.
edit on 25-2-2013 by newcovenant because: (no reason given)
I use to be a bit of a cuckoo (pushing my way through certain aspects of others endeavors) but later found out that I was a brain washed penguin
(Learned the importance of the people close to me and cherishing that bond) whom intern had a bit of an identity crisis and finally came to the
realization that I am a crow (misunderstood by most yet willing to understand and protect the interest of other misunderstood beings to my beat
Great thread with awesome metaphorical implications, star and flag
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