Do Animals Tell Stories?

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    Apr 23, 2012 4:49 AM GMT
    In much animal research I have done, I have noticed that many animals have sophisticated communication... parrots and many primates are known to use human language quite effectively,.. dolphins and primates can be seen scolding their children... monkeys have been recorded to use lies and deception to get a larger share of food.... gorillas and elephants are known to stop, make a circle, and make cries at each other and then move all together as a unit, so they have group discussions with each other about what to do and where to go.... primates encourage, empathise, reconcile with it,... and I noticed my cat used to call out to me with a meow which carried the same inflection as a human calling my name, so I am sure they have some kind of language that we humans cannot understand...

    Now I have always wondered... one of the typical things of humans is that we tell and listen to stories... can spend hours watching a play or a movie, and we just sit still, captivated, while one person speaks.... since animals can "lie" and also dream ( as anyone with a cat or a dog will know, that they dream when they sleep ).. does it happen at all that animals tell each other stories? .. since they can mourn their loved ones, could it be possible that they reminisce with each other while mourning, reminding each other of past events and laughing, like rats are known to laugh when tickled?... Like does the mother bird create a "dream world" for its chicks that soothes them and puts them to sleep??

    http://thislivelyearth.com/2010/01/14/do-animals-tell-stories/
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    Apr 23, 2012 3:10 PM GMT
    "Much of our own mental life never translates into actions and thus remains inaccessible to other humans, and so, barring some breakthrough in the mapping of how thoughts stimulate precise electrical events in the brain, the interior lives of animals will remain in the province of speculation."~~Eugene Linden, The Parrot's Lament.

    Certainly we know that animals communicate with each other, particularly the essentials, even if at a rudimentary level and some of even that seems highly symbolic such as bees dancing to tell the hive where to find food.

    Many animals show distinct personalities yet are able to socialize among their kind, indicating complex communication.

    Animals communicate with each other to coordinate efforts towards a common goal.

    Animals exhibit self-awareness and show off for mating so they probably exaggerate.

    We hear stories of dolphins saving humans from sharks so they seem capable of abstract thinking.

    My own wolfpuppy learned to barter, to trade for what he wanted, bringing something in exchange for something, so that is a type of story-telling, telling me that he thinks a thing is of a certain value.

    Once a bird flew into my garage and it couldn't find the door to exit. I was afraid it would exhaust itself so I captured it and set it free. I imagined the story it told it's friends. How it found itself in a treeless jungle. How this huge monster chased it down and captured it. How brave it was. How it fought to escape. How it outwitted the huge monster, escaping its grasp before the monster had a chance to eat it and flying away to safety. He became known as the bravest bird on the block and ever since, all the other birds have been retelling his story.
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    Apr 23, 2012 5:50 PM GMT
    No. Morgan Freeman or Tim Allen tell their stories.
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    Apr 23, 2012 6:42 PM GMT
    Iceblink saidNo. Morgan Freeman or Tim Allen tell their stories.
    Morgan Freeman only tells stories of his childhood.
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    Apr 23, 2012 6:55 PM GMT
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    Apr 23, 2012 7:09 PM GMT
    Considering humans are animals, yes, they do tell stories.

    That being said, animals can communicate things to each other, but as far as we know they don't have the complex symbolic capacity to relate past, and future with other specie. HOWEVER, it is now being researched in chimpanzees and other primates that they do plan ahead of an ambush on another tribe, so to speak.

    So story telling? no. Informing one-another, yes.