Tuesday, 18 May 2010

I wonder what happens by chance, luck,

coincidence or reasoning in the animal world when we are not there?
In a rather roundabout way I saw an extraordinary small video clip of a penguin being chased by a pod of killer whales. After what was surely an exhausting chase for the small penguin he or she landed on the inflatable rubber dinghy of the person filming.
You can almost hear the penguin saying, "Phew! Close shave...thankyou." I am trying not to think about what would have happened to the penguin if the boat had not been there. I do not doubt that nature is often as brutal as it can be beautiful.
Of course the remarkable thing is that the penguin appeared to trust the humans sufficiently to seek refuge on the dinghy. I once had deep scratch marks all the way up to my shoulder because a kitten used me as a pole to avoid a dog. Why did the kitten trust me? Was it just because I was a convenient pole at the time? How do animals 'think' in these circumstances?
Do they just react instinctively or do they, given time to 'think', reason something out? I know the assumption is that, if they think, they think in images. How do they 'know' things?
Although we worry, with good cause, about endangered species it seems to me that the overall survival rate for living things is remarkable.
Some of it may well be chance, luck or coincidence - but I reckon there has to be some reasoning in there as well.


Rachel Fenton said...

Ha - lucky the orcas didn't have an excited chomp of the dinghy! Animals are very resourceful and we humans aren't much more intelligent than them most of the time:)

catdownunder said...

I am surprised they did not tip the dinghy over!