ANSWERS TO THE URBAN WILDLIFE
GEE WHIZ ANIMAL QUIZ
Recent evidence shows that the Egyptians domesticated pigeons
12,000 years ago, some 7,000 years earlier than was previously thought.
Throughout history, pigeons have been used to carry lifesaving
messages, and even medications, very quickly, over impassable terrain,
and with a better than 98% success rate – and still do so in some parts
of the world, today.
Only in recent times has the white colored pigeon become
widely used as the symbol of love and peace, much like the portrayals of
Jesus with light, straight hair and blue eyes. Neither are accurate representations
of their traditional counterparts.
Pigeons are raced worldwide, which involves transporting
them to places where they have never been, releasing them, and letting
them find their way home. Despite extensive investigation and experimentation,
science is still baffled by this uncanny ability.
Dr. Theodore Barber, Ph.D., states in The Human Nature
of Birds, that scientific findings converge on three unexpected
conclusions: 1. Birds have many abilities that humans assume are
unique to humans, including musical ability (appreciation, composition,
and performance), ability to form abstract concepts, ability to use intelligence
flexibly to cope with constantly changing life demands, and ability to
play with joy and mate erotically. 2. Although humans are superior to
birds in certain kinds of intelligence (such as symbolic-linguistic
intelligence), birds are superior to humans in other kinds of intelligence
(such as navigational intelligence). 3. Birds are not
only intelligent, aware, and willful; they also can communicate meaningfullywith
humans and relate to them as close, caring friends. Investigations
initiated by Professor Richard J. Herrnstein at the Harvard Psychological
Laboratories yielded surprising results. Laboratory PIGEONS conceptualize
at a high level of abstraction. Each PIGEON concept that was
assessed in the laboratory was surprisingly as general and complete
as typical concepts of humans. Laboratory PIGEONS also succeed
at other tasks that were thought to be unique to humans or to
primates. Laboratory PIGEONS learned to recognize each of the twenty-six
letters of the English alphabet. It seemed odd to the researchers
that the birds made the same kinds of initial mistakes as elementary
school students. In brief, the prevalent notion that concepts are
unique to humans is not valid. Laboratory birds have conceptualized
what they were "requested" to conceptualize. It appears likely that birds
in nature conceptualize everything that matters to them.
Epstein, Lanza and Skinner demonstrated that the pigeon passes the mirror
test, making it one of only six species, and the
only non-mammal, to recognize its reflection as an image of itself
In fact, much of the royalty throughout the world, starting
with the Pharaohs of Egypt, maintained the prized birds in their royal
Charles Darwin used pigeons to formulate his theory of the
evolution of species. As he worked with the birds, he developed a love
for them. As a result, he could no longer kill and dissect the birds who
had become his beloved companions.
Picasso loved pigeons so much, he named his daughter Paloma,
which is Spanish for pigeon.
Jimmy Smits narrates, in a video entitled Man’s Oldest
Feathered Friend, "Only in this century have [pigeons received] our
ridicule instead of our respect. Few urban humans truly understand the
beauty, bravery, and our shared history with these aerial wonders." In
working with pigeons on his hit TV series, Jimmy Smits has developed a
real affection for these birds.
According to legend, says folklorist Boria Sax of Pace University,
"Noah sent out a raven that didn't come back and later a [pigeon] that
returned with the olive branch, a sign of peace."
American and allied armed services released pigeons with
cameras strapped to their bodies to take aerial photography during the
First World War.
Isn’t it amazing that an aircraft company would use this
natural form of airmail!
Pigeons are constantly and senselessly exterminated, shot,
and tortured in huge numbers. One wonders if such cruelty would be so prevalent
if pigeons could cry out loudly when purposely subjected to such excruciating
See Jimmy Smits’ quote in answer number 9, above.
Pigeons are uniquely adapted to life in the city. In many
urban areas, children would not have contact with or appreciation of any
wildlife were it not for pigeons.
Pigeons are benign residents. In fact, they lose their very
lives to sustain endangered Peregrine Falcons, hawks, and other predators
which would find it difficult, if not impossible, to survive without them.
In a world of high technology, sometimes the lowest technology
is still the most successful.
Monet, Matisse, and Picasso all loved pigeons. A pigeon loft
still exists in Monet's garden.
The next time you tip a glass of fine champagne, enjoy a
bit of the essence of pigeon.
Most people don’t even know that a pigeon is a dove.
The words "dove" and "pigeon" are interchangeable. All pigeons
are doves and all doves are pigeons.
State and local health departments report that there has
never, ever, been even one case of any disease spread from pigeons to people
throughout the history of Arizona. The same is true in California, New York,
Chicago, St. Louis, and elsewhere. The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention says that the risk of getting a disease from a pigeon anywhere
in the entire country is extremely rare.
Pigeons make "crop milk" to feed their babies. Scientists
studied this to help make cows’ milk better for people.
Researchers in England devised incredibly complex devices
to test the intelligence of all types of birds. Pigeons came out on top.
Unfortunately, Arizona is one of only 4 states that allow
the dove of love and peace to be trapped and shot for fun and profit.
Paul Mitchell, Dove soap, Dove Bars, Dove chocolate, the
Bank of America, VISA credit cards, and many other companies adorn their
products with the image of the pigeon.
Pigeons are dinosaurs. Birds are not just descended from
dinosaurs -- they are dinosaurs. So, cast your gaze upward. You
might just see the dinosaurs flying.
GINEPO unscrambled is PIGEON.
(c) D.L. Roth, 10 March, 1997; 2006