Truth or Insanity

by Handsome Matt

Animal Planet debuted a two hour special tonight, The Uprising. In it they present a series of animal attack on humans ranging from the sadly mundane (Circus elephants, pet chimps) to the bizarre (wild dogs and pythons), and asks the question:

“Are these random events or signs of something larger?”

Looking at seemingly random events and pulling out the patterns and signs is risky business, it is incredibly easy to draw false conclusions or slip into conspiracy insanity.

I’m not one to highlight animal attacks on humans, personally we like to focus on the sensational (the 1 bear attack a year) and ignore the serious (the 14,000 deaths from deer a year).

However something about this strikes me as worth considering. Here’s why:

When researchers attempted to teach chimps and apes sign language something strange happened. Both the researchers and the participants became frustrated and gave up. Not from the difficulty of the experiment, but rather from the difficulty in making the other individual understand. Basically, chimps couldn’t get the researchers to understand what they were saying, and vice versa.

When we look at higher functioning, intelligent animals we should move away from the idea of dumb as compared to us. Rather, we need to think of it as a foreign intelligence. It’s so otherworldly it appears to be nonsense and instinctual to us.  We know something is there, but we don’t understand it.

For myself, there is growing evidence combined with my growing skepticism about the supremacy of man, that would suggest certain animal species are as intelligent as we are, if not more so.

Could certain species of animal be targeting humans? Possibly. If a dog can learn to associate a bell with food so strongly as to elicit a physical response, then a highly intelligent animal (like a cougar, wolf, coyote, elephant, or monkey) could put human presence and loss of habitat together.

Furthermore, humans and animals have been interacting for the last 10,000 years, long enough for us to start seeing evolutionary changes.

I don’t believe this to be a sign of some global meta-cognitive event, with Eywa controlling the animals of the Earth. What I do see this as being, is a sign of a larger issue.

And we need to understand this is entirely our fault. We are encroaching. We are the usurpers, we are the trespassers. This is entirely a problem brought on by our doing through our own actions. It’s our responsibility to fix it.

We have to come up with better ways of doing things. If things continue, and habitat dwindles, stress levels rise, and animal attacks become more frequent. We’ll reach a breaking point. Our only option after that?

Mass, human initiated extinction. Unless the animals get us first at that point.