Plant Communication: Talking trees

Prof. Suzanne Simard, forest ecologist (the University of British Columbia) and her colleagues have discovered that the trees and plants of an ecosystem are connected and share resources via an underground web of fungi that move nutrients, carbon and water between trees, depending on their needs. This helps the whole system of trees and other... Continue Reading →

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‘Diagnosing’ Cats and Dogs

A decade ago, a typical stereotype (and a very fashionable at the time) was to compare autistic people with cats and non-autistics with dogs. Some stretched the analogy even further and said that having autism was like being a cat in a world of dogs. With all my respect for Donna Williams (and I have... Continue Reading →

What humans have got wrong about pigs

More examples of humans’ ignorance are the cases when humans use ‘pig-metaphors and idioms’ to describe people they don’t like – those with such qualities (wrongly associated with pigs) as greed, stupidity, selfishness, stubbornness, meanness and the like. But in fact, assuming that the pigs possess these qualities, we insult the pigs who are intelligent,... Continue Reading →

2019 – Year of the Pig

Tuesday, the 5th of February 2019 is the first day of the Chinese year of the Earth Pig. Pig is the last animal symbol of the 12 Chinese Animal System. Pig is in the Water group according to Chinese Five Element theory. Pig month is November, so Pig is the cold water. In the Chinese... Continue Reading →

It’s the language, stupid! (Or, is it?)

The main arguments used to deny animals the ability to think (and develop self-awareness) is that they lack verbal language. Take Dennett, for example, who insists that acquiring a human language, oral, written or sign language, is a necessary precondition to develop consciousness and self. He proposes that human subjectivity is remarkable by-product of human... Continue Reading →

What humans have got wrong about sharks

Another misleading metaphor that uses animals to convey human features is Shark – to describe a person who unscrupulously exploits or swindles others. And vice versa – sometimes white sharks, for example, are compared to human serial killers. And yes, white sharks pick their targets in a focused and calculated manner similar to that used... Continue Reading →

What humans can learn from cats

Among other things, our feline friends can teach us how to establish successful communication with other species. Instead of imposing your own language (and assuming that others must understand it), humans should make an attempt to find out the system that can be understood by their communicative partners. Cats are born linguists and highly skilled... Continue Reading →

What humans can learn from dolphins

Dolphins can speak ‘foreign languages’, e.g., ‘whalsh’ – language spoken by whales. (Of course, dolphins can be seen as just small, toothed whales and their languages are similar, but still, unlike humans, they do bother learn different dialects and ‘sea tongues’ to communicate with their neighbours. The story of Moko, the dolphin, who led the... Continue Reading →

I love books

Like Dasha, I love books. Actually, I’m obsessed with reading (and writing) – whenever I have time I read. It happens everywhere: on the bus, on the train, at home, in the hotel… My favourite books are about animals and about autism, or better still about both animals and autism. The reasons for my preferences... Continue Reading →

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