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Are we really that intelligent?

July 31, 2011 4 comments

Man has always taken pride in the fact that he is the most intelligent among the living species –  the next in line being animals and the lowest plants.  But are we really that intelligent?

Birds like the Arctic Tern can migrate over vast oceans without rest and this shows the immense endurance and intelligence of these birds.  This elegant white seabird. breeds on the shores of the Arctic Ocean in Northern Hemisphere summer. And it feeds over the Southern Oceans half a year later – in Southern Hemisphere summer. North American Arctic Terns fly about 40,000 kilometers, or 24,000 miles, each year ”

A few weeks after mating during the breeding season (October – February) female turtles, weighing more than 100kg, pull themselves onto the beaches, dig a hole in sand and lay about 100 leathery eggs into the hole. They cover the eggs and return to the sea, leaving the eggs to be incubated by sun that warms the sand.

Two or three months later (depending on the amount of sunny days), they can come back and identify the eggs.  Tiny baby sea turtles hatch and climb out of the nest. At the sunset they run to the water, all at once to confuse the predators such as crabs, gulls and frigatebirds.

Chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins and monkeys also demonstrate high degrees of intelligence.

Humans inspite of their intelligence have created havoc with the environment by destruction of rainforests, mining, construction of dams, roads, resorts etc without paying any heed to the exotic plants and animals that reside in these forests.  We are thus seeing untold floods, droughts, landslides, earthquakes etc as a result of our actions.

The question thus arises – Are we using our intelligence wisely for the betterment of our world and ecosystem or is it a case of misuse of intelligence?

 

 

 

Categories: General Tags: , , , ,

Live and let live

June 17, 2011 7 comments

(Pix courtesy: http://bookbuilder.cast.org)

Nature is full of examples of animals that help each other to co-exist.  This is termed symbiosis.

1)   Hermit crab and sea anemone:

Sea anemones hitchhike on the back of hermit crabs, scoring a ride across the seabed and extending their tentacles to eat the crab’s leftovers. Crabs actively recruit these passengers. After poking an anemone with its pincers – causing it to release its grip from its current home – the crab holds it in place so the anemone can reattach to the crab’s own shell. In return, the anemones fend off hungry octopuses and other predators using their barbed tentacles. The crabs return the favour by driving away creatures that eat anemones, such as starfish and fireworms.

2) Bees and orchids:

Male orchid bees collect perfume from a wide variety of South- and Central American neotropical orchids, and turn this into chemical signals called pheromones. In the process, orchid pollen is conveniently attached to the bee’s back, where it can subsequently rub off onto female parts of other flowers. The process is vital for orchid reproduction. Scientists aren’t yet sure what orchid bees do with their perfume-based pheromones. The potent concoction may attract females, be used to mark territories, or it may just smell awfully good.

3)    Goby fish and snapping shrimp:

In a crafty collaboration, snapping shrimps construct and maintain burrows in the seabed, while the fish stands guard. Sighting potential threats, the fish waggles its tail against the shrimps’ antennae or into the burrow entrance, warning the shrimp of the danger. In return, the fish can call the burrow home, sleeping in it with the shrimp at night and using it as a convenient bolthole in the face of peril.

4)    Cleaner fish:

Cleaner fish then gorge themselves on parasites, mucous and dead tissues from the surface of their client. In addition to a spick and span skin, client fish enjoy a good tickle. It’s partly this rewarding sensation that stops the client fish gobbling up the cleaner fish

There are numerous examples of such type of symbiosis in nature.

Man is supposed to be the most evolved when compared to such animals in that he is gifted with an intellect to reason and think.  However, in his greed he forgets even his fellow men and exhibits the trait of selfishness.  If we can imbibe a few lessons from this marvellous co-existence among animals in nature for mutual benefit – wouldn’t this world be a better place?

(Reference: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com)

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