The Parrot's Lament
And Other True Tales of Animal Intrigue, Intelligence, and IngenuityBook - 2000
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Linden relates anecdotal evidence that animals, when faced with actual situations, can be as conniving and as thoughtful in solving problems as a young child. These are observations taken from people who work professionally with animals so are familiar with typical behaviors. In relating these stories as evidence of animal cognition there is a high degree of reliable observation that is not anthropomorphizing. Later Linden follows up with supporting experimental results but these are simple controlled settings so lack the ingenuity even if they offer corroborative evidence of cognitive analysis in solving situational problems by animals.
The anecdotes are gathered across a wide spectrum from zoo keepers, pet owners, game preserve employees, and primate researchers and covers a range of animals from the titular parrot to various apes, cats, horses and a captive orca pair. The obvious is that animals recognize themselves and others and form patterns of relationships that require intent to perform the actions we read about. Linden leaves the reader to form their own opinion at first because this is just anecdotal hearsay. Only at the end, with experimental evidence, are the cognitive functions explored and analysed in detail.
This book was not about proselytizing a view point but rather offering qualified observational evidence followed by a sampling of simple experimental settings in order to provoke awareness of what intellect is, whether in animal or in human form
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