Four years ago I came to Chiang Mai and went to see elephants pain realist paintings and play soccer.  The elephants’ paintings were varied, recognizable as distinct objects, and rather artistic. Today on MSN I see information about a cat who takes photographs.  Search on U tube and you can find numerous videos of cats playing their own musical compositions on the piano.  I have a friend in California who has taught her cats to use the toilet, wash their paws afterwards, and ring a small bell to request a flush. 

Lucy the chimp (1964–1987), was one of the most interesting of this planet’s talented animals.  Owned by the Institute for Primate Studies in Oklahoma, she was raised by her adoptive parents, the Temerlins,  as a human child, and learned to dress herself, browse through magazines, raise her own pet cat, and to sit at the dinner table and eat her meals with silverware.  She was also known to guzzle straight gin on occasion.  She learned American sign language, mastering a vocabulary of over 140 words, which she even used in order to lie.  When she was eventually courted by a male chimp, she was at first frightened, but eventually , as his visits became routine, she would, upon his arrival, hug him and then proceed to boil water and to make and serve tea.  However, Lucy never did warm to him, preferring Playgirl magazine and a vacuum cleaner for excitement.

Rupert Sheldrake, a British biochemist and author, has detailed in his book Dogs That Know When Their Owners are Coming Home (1999), scientific experiments illustrating various psychic abilities of animals.  There are the predictable dogs that know when their owners are coming home, who go to the front door or front gate of the residence to begin waiting at the exact time the owners merely form the intention to return home.  There are numerous stories of animals that sensed their owner’s lives being endangered.  There are anecdotes describing how animals have predicted calamitous events, such as earthquakes.  And most remarkable is the story of the African grey parrot with telepathic powers.  This parrot not only announced the names of callers before calls were answered, it could also describe photographs being show to its owner, in real time, as she viewed them in a separate room.  Even more amazingly, this parrot gave detailed accounts of dream scenes which its owner had experienced the previous night and had recorded in a journal. 

It’s quite curious to think that we still regard ourselves as the most intelligent species on the planet, as we hurl ourselves headlong towards its destruction. 



Sources:  Bing (, Wikipedia ( ,  Rupert Sheldrake (