Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snowboarding Crow

When we think of animals playing, we tend to tell ourselves that they do so to hone their skills for living. For example, baby cougars stalk each other and wrestle, skills that they'll need to bring down prey when they're big cougars. But this video is about to make you rethink this explanation for animal play. Why, oh, why, I ask you, does a European Hooded Crow need to practice snowboarding? Answer: he doesn't. He just likes the sensation of whooshing through the snow, just like we do. We're running out of characteristics that divide humans from animals. It used to be "tool use" that made us unique, and then they realized that African monkeys had not only been using tools, but also making them for years -- and that they even passed down their tools from one generation to the next, like a mother passing on her sewing machine to a loyal daughter. So, we said, "Uh, snowboarding? Yeah! That's what makes us different from the beasts!" Think again!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fancy Fowl

"Gorgeous chicken" sounds a bit like an oxymoron. It's at least an uncommon combination of words. But I defy anyone to deny that this is a gorgeous chicken. Its feathers are so perfectly clean and white and wonderfully fluffy! It seems to know how beautiful it is.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gecko Wisdom

This tiny Hawaiian gecko is memorable for more than his part in a fantastic photo. I think he teaches us a good lesson for 2012, something we can take to heart and try to apply to our own lives: we are all perfectly suited to our natural environments, and we shouldn't try to modify it to match some unnatural vision of what humans should be. Let nature lead you, as William Wordsworth wrote, and you'll find your truest self.