Sharman Horwood

Writer and Visual Artist

Articles & Reviews

Intelligent Dinosaurs?

In 2004, a nondescript lump of stone was found on a Sussex beach by a fossil collector. About the size of three or four pennies, this small lump turned out to have “the first known fossilized brain tissue from a dinosaur” (National Geographic, by Michael Greshko, Oct. 27, 2016). Paleontologists knew that dinosaurs had brains, but they’d only recovered fossils that were sediment casts of the brain cavity. This piece contained a “stunningly well-preserved sample of mineralized tissue from inside a Cretaceous dinosaur’s skull” (National Geographic, Greshko, Oct., 2016). This

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Intelligence: Cats and Dogs

If you’re at all interested in animal intelligence, I would recommend Frans De Waal’s Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? Well written and clear, the book brings up many important issues. One of the first for me is the problem of measuring intelligence in animals. For instance, he brings up the intelligence lists for dogs, with the border collie as the smartest, and Afghan hounds the least intelligent. Friends of De Waal owned an Afghan hound and pointed out that Afghans seem less intelligent because “they

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Finding Their Own Way

However they find home, some dogs have an innate ability to follow their humans, even when they go someplace the dog has never visited. If this was just one story, luck and a good nose would explain the way some dogs can do this, but there are several stories in which dogs confound our expectations. There has to be some order of intelligence that explains the phenomenon, combined with an inner sense the dog must have of how to follow what they can smell. Or perhaps there is another sense

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Creature Comforts

Wild animals have quickly learned how to take advantage of human habitats. Coyotes like to hunt rodents on golf courses where there are fewer places for them to hide. Raccoons and squirrels much prefer city attics than any nest they can build; houses provide lots of opportunity for cozy, warm spots. They don’t have to pay rent or heating costs, either; the space is there for the taking. There was one online video where a raccoon used a cat door to reach in and steal the indoor welcome mat to

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Book Reviews