Friday, September 02, 2005

More prescient writing from Nature Magazine

From an article in the March 1944 issue, called "Coyote Cunning":

The immortal Reynard of our childhood literature never got by with a trick as clever as one pulled by Tippy, a pet coyote reared by a family in Texas. Tippy's liking for fresh poultry stuck with him in captivity, and he began catching chickens. The family chained Tippy to a corner of the house and fed him scraps. Tippy promptly scattered the scraps within the length of his chain and retired around the corner. The gullible chickens ventured forth to pick up the scraps; Tippy picked up fresh poultry.

Now look at this.

My question is, if the coyote belonged to a pack, would he also have taught his fellow members how to bait chickens? The transmission of culture is obviously not a solely human trait...