More torture here for you, RC- this is not much about guineas... :-)
The NYT has a good article on the growing awareness of scientists that animals are "smart", etc. - Crows remember faces.
Good article; for two reasons- it tells a good story about a nice experiment on crows learning specific human faces- and teaching other crows- and remembering for years-
And it also fully illustrates the stunning current "scientific" bias against this kind of understanding. Later in the article it talks about how that silly guy Konrad Lorenz had inklings...
Though Dr. Marzluff’s is the first formal study of human face recognition in wild birds, his preliminary findings confirm the suspicions of many other researchers who have observed similar abilities in crows, ravens, gulls and other species. The pioneering animal behaviorist Konrad Lorenz was so convinced of the perceptive capacities of crows and their relatives that he wore a devil costume when handling jackdaws. Stacia Backensto, a master’s student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who studies ravens in the oil fields on Alaska’s North Slope, has assembled an elaborate costume — including a fake beard and a potbelly made of pillows — because she believes her face and body are familiar to previously captured birds.
Puuuleeeeze! "Suspicions??" Lorenz wasn't "so convinced" - he KNEW. Backensto doesn't "believe" - she KNOWS. Many others knew, and have for many decades. One of my heroes is Ernest Thompson Seton- who wrote an extensive, multi volume set of fully academic studies on the life histories of game animals- and also wrote popularized versions for general consumption- from around 1905 to 1940. His work is full of hard scientific observations- showing all kinds of animal intelligence and individuality- and many other workers followed. But somehow, Marzluff thinks his study is the first. Far, far from it. But the Times buys it- and to my dismay even journals like Science use this kind of hyper-conservative language- which actually obscures a huge amount of knowledge.
Argh. Don't get me started on the sad state of "science"; I really don't have time. And it really ticks me off- science is a fabulously powerful and useful tool- but it's mostly very poorly used, and only superficially understood; particularly by those with PhD's.