Why are we so surprised? We have always considered animals, no matter how endearing, to be of a lesser intelligence than humans. We even create scales to chart their intelligence levels.
But, when determining their intelligence why use tests that encompass our values? Certainly, they don’t use speech to communicate in the way we do nor have I seen any examples yet of computer programming by animals. However, in their own ways they may be superior to us. Imagine if a wolf devised an intelligence test for us using their criteria for survival. We’d fail miserably. Give us wings and tell us to migrate thousands of miles with no compass or GPS. How would we do compared to a Canada Goose? As for communication, we’re still in the dark ages discovering how whales or dolphins or birds communicate. Yet they do. One of the definitions of intelligence we learned in Psych class was “the ability to adapt to one’s environment.” This animals seem to do, even when the environment is created by us.
Maybe they’re just playing us. Maybe they have their version of United Nations where they hold meetings to decide how much information they’ll let slip to humans. Maybe they are just waiting for us to join the endangered species list. Maybe they laugh at our antics and pass stories on to their offspring about the funny encounters they had with ridiculous humans. Maybe they don’t think we have developed enough yet to want to communicate with us.
Sometimes when I look at my cat Zoey, I’d swear she was smirking, and that I’m the object of the smirk. Who knows what she gets up to when I’m not around? all those computer viruses we get aren’t planted by hackers. Maybe dogs and cats are the front lines of an animal conspiracy. They could be moles, waiting for their moment.
I think I’m going to turn my computer off now, just in case. Zoey has been looking over my shoulder and she’s smirking again.