Monday, August 07, 2006

On Geese and pigeons

Had to finish the day with these wonderful images of my grandson Jude. Geese must seem such strange scary things when they are the same size as you.....imagine walking round the corner and being met by a six foot goose (well ok 5 foot in my case!).....I'd run a mile....but Jude, he just watches and thinks and wonders.....and much later on when you are least expecting it, he suddenly remembers and says "geese"....and then much later looking at a picture in a book that really looks nothing like the geese he saw, he remembers again. That innate ability to transform a two dimensional visual representation into a lived experience never ceases to amaze me - is that why we have such big brains? A guy on the radio this morning was suggesting that they were so big in order to allow us to pass on our social culture, so may be it is related!
And one last random thought for the day - researchers are pretty confident that they have proved that pigeons navigate by their sense of smell, not by following magnetic patterns. An experiment in the UK (I think) took two sets of 24 pigeons, set one had the olfactory nerve cut and the other set, the nerve that connects to the magnetic sensing part of the brain. Let loose thirty miles from home, all but one of the ones with no magnetic sense made their way home but only 4 of the non-smellers managed it - all the others are still flapping around lost somewhere in the North of England - poor things! (Check out The Observer science column for the real article!)
OK - that's all for today! Off to make jewelry now....

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