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Monday, July 30, 2007

The Horwitz Animals Update

Inspired by Paul H's discussion of the cat who could sense impending death in hospital patients, I am proud to continue the new Prawfs tradition of posting provocative animal news.  But unlike Horwitz, I'll stick to stories with very serious legal implications:

Thanks so much to Paul H for opening up this new line of bloggership for Prawfs.

Posted by Scott on July 30, 2007 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Yes, I do have a sense of humor, but sometimes I think we trivialize or deny the significance of topics or issues worthy of address when we're not altogether comfortable treating them (for any number of reasons, often due to one or more cognitive biases: bias blind spot, confirmation bias, déformation professionnelle, framing, selective perception, status quo bias, and so forth and so on).

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Jul 30, 2007 11:53:24 AM

Or stories with ethical implications that might have, one day, legal implications: "Altruistic" Crow Behavior

"Tumwater, Washington: Wooded area with cedar trees, douglas firs and maple trees behind the South Puget Sound Community College.

I often go to this area and feed a group of crows that seem to live there. Among the various things I have observed is that often one will lite on a tree or lamppost above me and watch me scatter bread. Then he might fly away and return with various other crows. It appears to me as if the observing crow, is able to delay gratification in order to somehow let the others know that there is food available." (s.c.)

crows.net response: Hello! Thanks for the report.

Your report describes one of the major distinguishing characteristics of crow behavior, that they have a very strong social/family orientation and individuals often show what appears to be altruistic behavior. They routinely put aside their own immediate good in favor of the good of other crows. Those who find a source of food will very frequently call other crows in before eating themselves. Parent crows will keep watch while their offspring feed, even if it means going hungry themselves. Not uncommonly crows will risk their lives to aid another crow that is injured or in danger. One of the more odious characteristics of certain hunters is that they will play the recorded distress calls of injured crows and then slaughter the crows that come to the aid of the supposedly endangered birds.

From http://www.crows.net/news.html One of my favorite websites. Be sure to check out the bibliography and, especially, "Crow Art from the Crow Store."

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Jul 30, 2007 11:40:49 AM

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