Part I Pre-reading Task
Listen to the recording1 two or three times and then think over the following questions:
1. What do you know about Michael Jackson?
2. How does he feel about Ben? Why?
3. Do you think the song Ben reveals something about the relationship between man and animals? If so, what is it?
4. Is the song related to the theme of the unit — animal intelligence? How?
Food, warmth, sleep? Their thoughts may be much deeper than that.
WHAT ANIMALS REALLY THINK
Over the years, I have written extensively about animal-intelligence experiments and the controversy2 that surrounds them. Do animals really have thoughts, what we call consciousness? Wondering whether there might be better ways to explore animal intelligence than experiments designed to teach human signs, I realized what now seems obvious: animals can think, they will probably do their best thinking when it serves their own purposes, not when scientists ask them to.
An so I started talking to vets4, animal researchers, zoo keepers. Most do not study animal intelligence, but they encounter it, and the lack of it, every day. The stories they tell us reveal what I'm convinced is a new window on animal intelligence: the kind of mental feats5 animals perform when dealing6 with captivity7 and the dominant8 species on the planet — humans.
Let's Make a Deal
Consider the time Charlene Jendry, a conservationist at the Columbus Zoo, learned that a female gorilla9 named Colo was handling a suspicious object. Arriving on the scene, Jendry offered Colo some peanuts, only to be m