Science Proves Chickens Are Brilliant, Young Chicks Perform Elementary Geometry

chickens-are-intelligent-emotionalAustralian Biologist Carolynn L. Smith conducted a study of chicken intelligence that discovered the fowl are surprisingly clever.

Smith used actual chickens and 3D animated fowl to conduct the tests. She recorded the chicken sounds and actions, and linked the behavior to events. Her research team found the chicken sounds constitute a language. The chickens understand, and act upon, the sounds of other chickens. Even more startling, chickens design their communication to particular audiences. For example, a rooster will make an alarm call to warn his mate of danger, but remains silent if a predator stalks his rival.

Smith found that the sounds don’t simply reflect a chicken’s individual state, such as being hungry. Rather, chickens can interpret significant events and respond with decisive action. Chickens think before they act. They are as cognitively sophisticated as large-brained mammals.

“When making decisions, the chicken takes into account its own prior experience and knowledge surrounding the situation. It can solve complex problems and empathize with individuals that are in danger,” Smith wrote in a paper published about the study.

Smith solved the mystery of the purpose behind a rooster’s wattle. Roosters perform tidbitting, which signals they have food to lure hens. Tidbitting causes the wattle to flutter, which attracts hens.

Subordinate males change the tidbitting signal to subvert the pecking order and seduce the hens—a devious behavior that astounded the researchers.

Food odors and pheromones cause hormonal changes in the chickens, which developmentally affects their pheromone-controlled sexual behavior in nutrient-dependent reproductively fit individuals. The hormone-influenced social strategies shape chicken social hierarchy.

Joanne Edgar, a PhD student in the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences, conducted a study of domestic hens that proved hens are emotionally affected by their chicks’ distress.

“We found that adult female birds possess at least one of the essential underpinning attributes of ’empathy’; the ability to be affected by, and share, the emotional state of another,” Edgar said.

Giorgio Vallortigara, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Trento in Italy, has published the results of clinical tests in which young chicks distinguished numbers and performed elementary geometry. For example, when presented with a two-sided triangle, the chicks could mentally supply the missing side.

An article in the New York Times has even suggested that chicks are brighter than human babies.

The fowl possess communication skills once thought limited to primates and humans.

Scientific evidence of chicken social awareness, language, emotions and mathematical capabilities adds weight to the fact that all living creatures on Earth have consciousness and a quantum soul.

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Valentine’s Day 2017: Best Friends Diagnosed with Cancer Make a Pact

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Author Julia Parker, 46, and her Shih Tzu Shelby, 14, were both diagnosed with cancer in 2016.

In May 2016, at the age of 46, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was in a state of shock and disbelief for a couple of months. My double mastectomy in July was followed by adapting to my “new normal,” which has been an overwhelming mix of fear, anxiety, medical appointments, new health problems, medications, procedures and treatments.

In December, my best friend and 14-year-old Shih Tzu, Shelby, began peeing blood frequently. Her veterinarian referred us to a specialist for an ultrasound of Shelby’s bladder. At the December 30th ultrasound appointment, the specialist told me that she has an inoperable cancer tumor in her bladder called Transitional Cell Carcinoma. He said that she would be prescribed Piroxicam to hopefully shrink the tumor and manage her pain. Her life expectancy is six months to a year. If she’s alive in six months, another ultrasound will be done to see if the tumor has shrunk.

I was more upset about her cancer diagnosis than my own. Unlike my breast cancer that was caught early by self-exam, I had no way of detecting Shelby’s cancer early. I became increasingly angry over the following weeks. Our time together now had an expiration date.

Our relationship began in the winter of 2003 while I was on a weekend trip in Vernon, New Jersey. My friend and I had visited a shop that had a crate of Shih Tzu puppies near the cash register. Shelby was six weeks old. We’ve been together ever since. She emotionally supported me through a divorce. We moved from New York to Atlanta, Georgia in 2004. Whether living in a high rise or our current mountain home, Shelby has always been a happy, social and adaptable dog. We’ve enjoyed many adventures.

Valentine’s Day morning, Shelby scratched at the back door leading to our home’s wrap around porch. I opened it. She walked to a sunny spot on the porch and laid down. Though nearly blind with cataracts, she glanced back to the door as if to see if I followed. I zipped up my hoodie, took a seat next to her in the sun and laid my hand gently on her back.

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Shelby and Julia in 2006.

Birdsong filled our ears. The sky was a beautiful pale blue dotted with clouds behind the leafless hardwood and evergreen trees. The Georgia mountain air was crisp and clean.

It is a beautiful day to be alive, I thought.

It occurred to me that it had been quite some time since I recognized the beauty of anything. My resentment about cancer, fear of suffering, fear of dying and anger had been overshadowing the joy of precious life moments.

It is natural to feel fear and sadness when facing terminal illness or death, but you cannot allow these feelings to steal away the pleasure of life and love. While it makes sense to fight for survival, viewing failing health and death as a horrible end to existence does not. Death is a natural part of the life cycle, like winter is a part nature’s four seasons. Religions around the world teach that death for human and animal is a transformation, not an end, including Christianity.

Our soul, and the souls of our loved ones, continue to exist after death. In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15:44 tells us, “The body is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

Death is a passage into the spiritual world. We have all seen miracles brought about by love and faith in our physical world, and it makes sense to expect such wondrous experiences after death in the spiritual world.

2 Corinthians 4:18 reminds us, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Does Shelby have a soul? Will she know salvation? Numerous scriptures in the Bible promise salvation for all living creatures; many listed below:

Psalm 36:6Psalm 145:911:24, “God’s mercies are for every living animal he has created – not just human kind. God saves both man and beast; “he hateth nothing that he hath made.”

Ecclesiastes 3:19, “After all, the same fate awaits human beings and animals alike. One dies just like the other.”

Ecclesiastes 3:20: “They are both going to the same place—the dust. They both came from it; they will both go back to it.”

Luke 3:6, “All flesh shall see the salvation of God,” and in Luke 12:6 Jesus Christ said of the birds of the air that “not one of them is forgotten before God.”

According to Kevin Nelson, a prominent University of Kentucky neurology professor who has analyzed the brain processes of spiritual experiences in both humans and animals for decades, our animal companions recognize spirituality. Nelson says it’s possible that animals not only experience mystical moments, but they may sense spiritual oneness.

The Bible supports Nelson’s findings in Psalm 148:7-12, which tells us that animals of both land and sea recognize and praise God.

With Bible in hand, my faith has been restored on Valentine’s Day 2017. The holiday, and every day, now has tremendous meaning. It’s a celebration of love that cannot be controlled by time, weakened by failing health, confined by distance or place, or destroyed by death.

Shelby and I made a pact on Valentine’s Day to enjoy every second together. We will savor every loving gaze, every car ride through mountain roads, every walk in the park, or sitting in the sunshine. On our worst days of aches, pain and malaise, we’ll cuddle on the couch or bed under a soft blanket, gaze into each other’s soul shining within our eyes, comfort each other through love and simply enjoy being.

If Shelby leaves this world before I do, I will mourn her deeply, as I do all loved ones. But I will live with joy, meaning and purpose in her memory, as she would want me to, until we reunite in heaven and celebrate our love in new ways.

Dogs Experience Grief, How to Help Your Dog Cope

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Copyright Photographer Elena Shimilova.

A study conducted by the ASPCA shows that two-thirds of dogs experience grief after a beloved human or animal companion in the family dies.

“The good news is that in most cases, [the grief] resolves in a couple of weeks,” Stephen Zawistowski, Ph.D., an author on the ASPCA study, says.

Scientists and animal behaviorists agree that dogs feel emotion, including grief. A US News & World Report article states that dogs mourn as deeply as humans. Barbara King, a professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary, says her research of a “surviving dog looking for his companion” proves that dogs “are thinking and feeling creatures, and that sets the stage for grief.”

Mark Bekoff, Ph.D., a former professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has observed grief in dogs, as well as magpies, llamas and chimpanzees. The grieving dog shows different symptoms than humans grieving the loss of a pet, but there are also similarities.

Perhaps the most famous dog in history to grieve his deceased human companion is an Akita named Hachikō, who waited for

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Copyright Photographer Elena Shimilova.

his beloved owner, Professor Ueno, each day at the Shibuya Station in Tokyo, Japan. The professor died from a brain hemorrhage on the way home on May 21, 1925. Hachikō went to the train station every day at their usual time, waiting his return — for almost ten years – until he died.

Sadly, Hachikō had no idea that Professor Ueno had died. He waited at the train station daily for nearly 10 years hopeful Ueno would walk off the train and back into his life. It presents an interesting and heart breaking problem; people can communicate to each other about the death of a loved one, but how does one communicate to a dog the death of his human companion?

Hachikō’s loyalty has been memorialized in Japanese culture, including in art, literature and the 2009 film “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.” There is also an annual ceremony held at Shibuya Railroad Station in his honor.

Recognizing Grief in Your Dog

No two dogs are alike, so how one dog reacts to a family member’s death may be different than another dog.

Many dogs show signs of physical sadness, negative behavior, lack of appetite, sleeping in strange places or whining, and there are dogs who don’t show signs of emotional distress at all.

Dr. Christopher Pachel, a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist, says that depression can be a problem for grieving dogs. When a socially bonded dog loses a family member, whether it’s an animal or human companion in the household, depression can set in.

Pachel says if your mourning dogs has no appetite, lowered water intake, a sluggish response to humans and other pets, no interest in play, and the symptoms increase over weeks or months, it’s best to take your dog to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will rule out physical illness and prescribe a medication to help your dog overcome depression.

How to Help Your Grieving Dog

Dog trainer Cesar Millan says that grief is a pack issue. It’s important, he says, to show your pet patience, but be careful not to let human emotions and behaviors feed in to your dog’s state of mind.

“It’s a natural human tendency to want to console, to comfort, to soothe, to nurture, yet it is possible to feed in to the negative emotional process,” Dr. Pachel warns. He recommends not giving your dog more attention if he or she isn’t eating because that may create a chronic picky eater.

The best way to help your dog cope with grief, according to Millan, is to maintain a normal routine, such as a set time for eating or play. If your dog is depressed, add more “thoughtful playtime” to the normal routine, which raises your dog’s serotonin levels and may have a positive impact on your dog’s behavior.

Dr. Pachel and Millan don’t recommend introducing a new pet to the household during your dog’s mourning period. It can establish a nonconstructive dynamic in your household. If your attitude changes and the daily routine changes, it can further confuse and stress your grieving dog. Consistency and stability is more important for the dog who’s grieving, says Pachel.

How has your dog behaved since losing a loved one? Do you have any advice to share? Tell us in the comment section below.

Not One Animal Is Apart From God

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Two sparrows.

The book of Matthew makes it clear that God cherishes every life — even animals who are sold, traded or abused. The welfare of animals and their souls are never apart from Him, according to the Bible.

Matthew 10:29 reads, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”

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Science Proves You, Your Pets, All of God’s Living Things Share Common Ancestry, DNA

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Photo credit: Marilyn Parker

“If you go back far enough, we share a common ancestor with the butterfly, the gray wolf, mushrooms, sharks, and bacteria. What a family!” – Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson

Did you know that humans share a quarter of their genes with rice, rhinos and reef coral? We do, and all animals, plants, and fungi share an ancestor that existed roughly 1.6 billion years ago, reports National Geographic’s Carl Zimmer.

Every lineage that descended from that ancestor has retained portions of its original genome. The genes we share with trees, fungi and God’s living creatures are used differently, like how you can use a saxophone for smooth jazz or the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar.”

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the host of National Geographic’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey,” explains in the second episode titled “Some of the Things That Molecules Do” that the DNA instructions responsible for metabolizing sugar are present in humans, trees, sharks and butterflies. All creatures share a similar genetic code. All living organisms metabolize sugar (example: glucose) and an array of metabolic pathways. It’s one piece of scientific evidence that there’s common ancestry of all living things.

Humans are also made up of star matter, connecting us to the universe.

“Stars die and reborn […] They get so hot that the nuclei of the atoms fuse together deep within them to make the oxygen we breathe, the carbon in our muscles, the calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood,” Tyson explains. “All was cooked in the fiery hearts of long vanished stars. The cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

He goes on to say that there are as many atoms in each molecule of a human or creature’s DNA as there are stars in a galaxy, and “This is true for dogs, and bears, and every living thing.”

Many scientists separate themselves from religion and scripture, but their work proves the interconnectedness of all life, which is spiritual.

“Accepting our kinship with all life on Earth is not only solid science. In my view, it’s also a soaring spiritual experience,” says Tyson.

All life on Earth is one, which explains our innate desire to live spiritually with pets, other animals and nature.

What are your thoughts about all living creatures sharing a common ancestry? Leave your comment below. 

 

 

Jesus Christ Reconciled All Living Creatures Unto Himself

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Luke 3:6, “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

There are numerous scriptures in the Christian Bible — different Bible versions — affirming that animals have souls, eternal life and are worthy of preservation, yet there are Christians who are opposed. Why?

St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle taught that animals, women and slaves were inferior creatures. Human males were heralded as the superior rulers of the Earth. The Christian church adopted this idea into their belief system for a long time. It wasn’t until recently that Pope John Paul II publicly recognized animals for their rightful status.

Curiously, Christian teachers and reverends today rarely speak of Jesus Christ’s efforts to end animal sacrifice. There’s no better example than His notorious Cleansing of the Temple that He performed upon arriving in Jerusalem. Christ entered the temple courts and began throwing out merchants and their livestock. He said that the temple is a “house of prayers” but the merchants made it into “a den of robbers.” According to Mark 11:16, Christ was particularly upset about the livestock being sold for animal sacrifice.

The Gospel of John (John 2:13-16) gives the most detailed account of what happened:

“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the Temple, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get out of here’.” (It was common for the poor to buy doves for animal sacrifice because the birds were inexpensive).

Christ made such an impression on people following that event that the temple’s chief priests and the teachers of the law started plotting to kill Him.

At the Lord’s Supper, Christ celebrated the last Passover at which He announced Himself as the sacrifice for sin.

John 2:1-2, “[Christ] himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the whole world.”

Colossians 1:20, “Jesus reconciled all living creatures unto himself.” (American Standard Bible)

It makes sense when you consider in Genesis 9:8-17 that God has established an everlasting “Covenant with man and beast” because (Job 12:9-10) in His hand is “the soul of every living thing.”

Romans 8:19-21 (King James Version) verifies that Christ’s sacrifice was meant for all living creatures on Earth: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

Animal sacrifices did not stop following Christ’s death. They were performed in accordance to the Old Testament covenant until A.D. 70 when the Roman army attacked Jerusalem. Even that was not the end to creature/animal bondage, corruption and sacrifice… it continues today in the name of religion, science and entertainment.

It is our responsibility as Christians — as the children of God — to deliver all living creatures from the bondage of corruption.

 

Parenting Bond Between Human and Dog is Real, Eye Contact and ‘Love Hormone’ Oxytocin Key

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According to Japanese scientists, humans and dogs bond the same as human mothers and newborns.

Whether you are giving your dog a treat or petting him while gazing deeply into each other’s eyes, there is a distinct feeling of shared love and admiration.

It is not your imagination. According to science, it is no different than the bonding emotions experienced by human mothers and their newborns.

A new study published in the journal of Science reveals that when humans and dogs gaze into each other’s eyes, both experience increased levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin, which is the same hormone that bonds new parents and their babies, reports the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

A team of Japanese researchers at the Companion Animal Research Lab at Azabu University in Japan wondered what benefit dogs receive from affectionate gazing with humans. In the new study, researchers had 30 dog-and-human pairs visit the lab to gaze in each other’s eyes and give urine samples. Oxytocin levels of dogs and their human companions were measured before and after the pairs spent 30 minutes together. After 30 minutes of gazing, petting and shared affection, both the people and dogs had increased levels of oxytocin in their urine. The more oxytocin rose in humans, the more it did in dogs, too.

In similar experiments with wolves, there was no interspecies-oxytocin loop though the wolves were interacting with people who had reared them from pups.

The study found that the oxytocin feedback loop can cross species boundaries, at least between human and dog.

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Credit: Russian photographer Elena Shumilova

The Japanese researchers write in the study, “These findings support the existence of an interspecies oxytocin-mediated positive loop facilitated and modulated by gazing, which may have supported the coevolution of human-dog bonding by engaging common modes of communicating social attachment.”

Oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” performs many actions in humans. It reduces stress, triggers the onset of labor and helps members of a group recognize individual members. In all mammals, its key function is help a parent and infant bond. A good example is when a rodent pup is separated from his mother; he will emit several ultrasonic noises that cause the mother to release more oxytocin. The mom, in response, will scoop up the pup and nurture him. This results in the release of more oxytocin and more attachment behavior in the pup, according to the study.

In humans, moms and babies experience the euphoria of increased oxytocin during breast-feeding. The pair will spend hours gazing at each other, fueling the release of oxytocin in the other.

“We humans use eye gaze for affiliative communications, and are very much sensitive to eye contact,” study co-author Takefumi Kikusui, a professor of veterinary medicine at Azabu University in Japan, told Live Science magazine. “Therefore, the dogs who can use eye gaze to the owner efficiently would have more benefits from humans.”

What’s interesting is that in domesticated dogs and wolves, eye contact isn’t their normal way of bonding, according to Evan MacLean, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University who was not involved in the new study. Dominant dogs stare down fellow canines lower in their pack’s hierarchy. Nervous puppies will look away.

But does the study explain how a predatory wolf/canine transformed into humankind’s best friend? Kikusui theorizes that early in the domestication of dogs, more friendly dogs may have gazed at humans for bonding. In doing so, the dogs became a part of the natural human system for parent-child bonding.

Animal companions give their human loved ones much more than feelings of love and happiness — they also help relieve stress, share a spiritual connection, lower cholesterol and boost self-esteem.