Monday, March 02, 2009

I Am So Glad Cats Don't Have Thumbs

...Even non-opposable ones. Consider clever critters who do; consider the short life and illustrious career of escapologist, pacifist and ringleader Ken Allen. The orangutan.

Darned pity those guys don't have language -- I'm quite sure he was tryin' to tell the zoo something. Of course, the original people in those parts (edit: that would Borneo and Sumatra) claimed -- and may yet -- that orangs speak well enough but won't do it around people, lest they be rounded up and put to work. A wise judgment, were it true.


Anonymous said...

Actually, there are cats that have thumbs! I have a friend whose cat, Mittens, has thumbs. And the cats around Hemmingway's house are renowned for theirs. Here's a link to Cats with Thumbs:

I can't figure out what that not so rare trait does for a cat, but it's there. Maybe an old trait that hasn't phased out totally quite yet, like webbed feet on people.

Anonymous said...

Actually, most primates can "talk", the "Man of the Forest," included. The problem is that primates are visually oriented - and most of mankind (kind?) has lost the ability to see what they are looking at.

I rather suspect that occurred when humans first created cities, since city dwelling seems to dull the senses and create a sort of collective insanity.

Pete Allen

Hecate said...

It's not that other species don't have language. Theirs just don't conform to our limited definition.

Who needs opposable thumbs? One of my Greyhounds learned to open the refrigerator. She passed that skill along, so even years after her death at age 15, I still have to keep a baby-latch up high on the refrigerator door.

Don't even get me started on what kind of trouble horses can get into with their prehensile upper lips.