We have reported extensively the experiments in mouse science from which behavioural scientists have learned so much about human intelligence from studying how mice learn to earn snacks by pushing buttons with their noses. So far however we have confined our study to mice and thus have described this area of research as mouse science.
We must now acknowledge our failure to look beyond the work of the mouse watchers has led us into failing in our duty to report fully on the fascinating things scientists do with animals. (Far more fascinating we are told that the things adolescent boys in rural areas do with sheep.)
As a first step towards rectifying this we must rename our mouse science reporting team the Boggart Blog snack science reporting team and widen the scope of their remit to include all the valuable snack related work being done with diverse species. Our first report from the snack science team concerns a project of vital importance to humankind. A group of naturalists at Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port, Wirral have taken the first stemps towards teaching crocodiles to speak.
The saurian genus is one of the most primitive groups of large animals on earth. It is generally accepted that they have not evolved for over 100 million years which is before the Himalayas were raised by tectonic plate activity. Unsurprisingly then Crocodiles and Alligators have never been seen as anything but stupid reptiles whose tiny brains could handle basic survival tasks but little else. It has come as a complete surprise then that Crocodiles are snack and neck with Chimps, Apes, Dolphins, Bears, Dogs, Elephants and other large brained mammals in showing an ability to do things that impress humans.
The key to this breakthrough in discovering hidden depths to Saurian intelligence is snacks.
We should say here Crocodiles have not yet learned to make human sounds in fact they have only made similar hissy sounds to other large reptiles or drag queens on being told their bead shadow is showing. But the Crocodiles of Blue Planet Aquarium have learned to recognise sounds.
A number of young Crocs have been given names and if they respond correctly when their name is called they earn a snack. A sausage we assume. We all learn as children the favourite food of Crocodiles is sausages. It would be curmudgeonly of us to suggest that the Crocodiles have simply learned to associate certain sounds with snacks. This is a long way from the mastering of quantum theory or learning to appreciate the creative techniques of J M W Turner or Ludwig van Beethoven but at least it keeps scientists off the streets.
Clearly snack science has a lot to offer humankind.
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