Let’s talk Pigs. And Dolphins and Whales. A Cats and Dogs. And Chimpanzees and Prairie Dogs. And the very interesting lives they lead.
Did you know Cat can drink saltwater with no ill effects? Tis true! Her kidneys can process out the salt and retain only the water. That would be handy on a life raft, wouldn’t it?
Did you know Pig can recognize himself in the mirror, and spend quite a bit of time admiring himself? He displays to himself just for fun. An image of another pig displayed in the mirror gets rebuffed.
Humpback Whale will defend not only Beings of her own kind but come to the rescue of others Seal, Dolphin and others from Orca. According to Science Magazine, in 90 percent of the reports of Humpback defending against Orca, she is defending another species. That makes Humpback pretty important to the hierarchy of the oceans. She is the sheriff out there in the world of water.
When Chimpanzee is taught chess on a video game venue – he beats his Human opponent 2 to 1 and can anticipate future moves better and quicker than a Human Being. (Maybe Planet of the Apes wasn’t so far off!). He also understands the Rock, Paper, Scissors game of hand signals – and doesn’t always take losing very well.
The alarm whistle of Prairie Dog identifies the town intruder in shape, size and color specifically by different nuisances of the whistle, letting others in the community know exactly what is afoot. He doesn’t scream ‘run and hide!’ but ‘run and hide from the brown, banded slinky thing in the east corner!’ That’s better than most home security systems.
Sea Otter is the gardener of the seas. She and her pod maintain huge kelp beds that benefit hundreds of species and Hawksbill Turtle are indispensable in maintaining coral reefs. It makes one consider the value of having all species present on Mother Earth, since we seldom understand or see the big picture.
Speaking of coral reefs, Clownfish has one of the best tricks of all. She is the matriarch of the school, but when she makes her transition, her male mate takes over the school – and becomes female! Now I don’t know whether to say she or he! But that is an amazing swing is it not?
The things we don’t yet know about everyone else on the planet is mindboggling.
And one day the world of science will prove the animals are talking, just like us.
And then what will we do?
There is an evolution happening among our friends the African Elephants.
As we are all very aware, the poaching of elephant tusks has decimated herds across Africa but Elephant herself, with the help of Mother Earth, has made her own decision to safeguard her kind against the inhuman Humans by evolving into tusk-less pachyderms. And she has done so very quickly. We are watching evolution in the making, in real time, before our eyes. The time frame of elephants with tusks and elephants without tusks took a mere 50 years.
The entire evolution is not complete but the statistics are moving in the direction of the more desirable tusk-less genes growing within family herds that are under stress of poaching. (Families not under poaching threats are developing as usual, meaning with tusks). There is a real threat of a time in the near future when Elephant and her children no longer have tusks, thus protecting them from poachers. Male elephants are not going tusk-less, but are producing smaller tusks.
This may seem like a win but is it?
The tusks of Elephant serve multiple purposes. They are very handy in digging for water not only for them but for other African species. Following behind Elephant and family can virtually save the lives of numerous animals during times of drought which occurs for months at a time in parts of Africa. Tusks are used for moving objects, downing trees and digging for food, defense and determines the desirability of mating. Even if one were to throw out the problems of food and water (not small problems!), the situation could be dire for future generations if the best of the bulls have no way to complete the hierarchy of breeding rights.
Is the choice to remain tusk-less truly a benefit? Or is it a predetermined extinction for new generations? Only time will tell.
The questions presented bother me. These are the foundation of life, changing right before us, and sometimes we become to concern with other (and in my opinion) less important things. I am not the only one. Biologists have the same concerns for this evolution caused by man and not nature. What does the future hold for other species dependent on help from Elephant? What about Elephant herself? And us? Who is to say what happens when the balance of life is disrupted?
One thing is certain. If we could stop poaching none of these questions would have to be answered and Mother Earth and Elephant would not have to take such drastic steps to ensure their children live until tomorrow.