illustration - bear reading a book

Does a Bear Think in the Woods?

Our understanding of animal intelligence is steadily growing and seems to have accelerated recently. Although bear intelligence has not been as studied as much as many other animals, that also seems to be changing.

“A Google Scholar search for “animal” and “cognition” returns more than 190,000 publications in just the past five years as research has illuminated a menagerie of intelligence. Ravens can plan for the future and demonstrate a degree of self-control comparable to great apes’. Sperm whales engage in consensus-based decision-making during the course of their travels. Japanese great tits, songbirds related to chickadees, use syntax—a linguistic property long thought unique to human language—when they communicate. Experiments show that tiny zebra fish, a species used to model basic animal traits, possess detailed memories of events and can learn from one another. Many species possess emotions: Giraffes appear to grieve, bumblebees show signs of happiness, and crayfish can experience anxiety.

On and on the findings go, yet bears have remained in shadow. Though plenty is known about bears’ biology and ecological interactions—as well as how to regulate hunting seasons—science is just starting to pay attention to what’s going on in their heads. “

READ MORE:
https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2019-2-march-april/feature/does-bear-think-woods

two bears shake hands


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