Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by charly from AL. charly Wonders, “Can Animals Read ” Thanks for WONDERing with us, charly!
Have you ever WONDERed what animals do for fun? Some of your favorite activities probably include playing sports with friends, playing video games, watching movies, and, of course, reading! But what about the animals of the world?
Sports might take the form of games of chase and real-life hide and seek. Many animals don’t have thumbs, so playing video games is probably out of the question. Since we haven’t seen many televisions in the wild, movies probably aren’t particularly popular either. But what about reading?
Do beavers enjoy sinking their teeth into the Hairy Otter fantasy series? Could birds spend their days flying through the pages of The Lord of the Wings trilogy? If you’ve never stumbled upon a library in the forest, you’re probably WONDERing whether animals can even read!
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that animals can’t read like we do. After all, if they could, you’d probably be fighting monkeys and chickens for your favorite books at the library. Just because animals can’t read like humans doesn’t mean that they can’t recognize some words and respond to them, though.
For example, several years ago, a dog named Willow became famous when she appeared on several popular television shows. Willow’s owner had trained her to “read” as many as 30 different words printed on cardboard cards. Not only could Willow recognize the words on the cards, she could also obey the commands they spelled out!
Other people have also reported success in training dogs to “read.” While these dogs can’t read full sentences and paragraphs like we do, they can learn to recognize the shapes of letters and simple words, as well as what those words mean.
Dogs aren’t the only bright animals on Earth, though. Experts once believed that only humans possessed certain advanced cognitive abilities, such as good memory, symbol recognition, self-awareness, and creativity. However, scientific studies have shown that various species exhibit these abilities, too.
Birds known as scrub jays have been shown to be aware of the fact that other birds will steal their food. As a result, they change their behavior by hiding food from other birds. Researchers were surprised to learn that scrub jays also exhibited an awareness of the fact that hidden food can spoil, and they keep this in mind when deciding when to eat their stored food.
Sheep have been shown to recognize faces. Chimpanzees have displayed impressive abilities to use tools and to hunt small mammals with weapons. Chimpanzees and gorillas can also be taught to use sign language and symbols in order to communicate with humans.
Even though these animals might not relax on the couch with a good book, they have still shown impressive cognitive abilities that are much more advanced than many people believed was possible. Who knows what the future will hold? Perhaps you can train your dog to read a simple book one day!