Sy Montgomery and Guests Discuss Animal Intelligence

What does an octopus think about? What might it feel like to be a bat? During Orion‘s latest live web event, authors Sy Montgomery, Marc Bekoff, and aquarist Scott Dowd discuss animal intelligence—the subject of Montgomery’s feature “Deep Intellect” in the November/December 2011 issue of the magazine. Listen to Montgomery read an excerpt from her piece, and hear the panel share startling stories of animal consciousness and answer listener questions.


  1. I have always experienced animals and trees and other beings on this planet as creatures who i had emotional and communicative exchange with. As a child I was deeply incensed when this experience, this reality was denied and invalidated. I was in my teens when I decided that ‘anthropomorphism’ was the human projection onto all non-human beings the idea that if they were not human beings then they could not have intelligence, empathy and language. And in my adult studies i came to understand that evolutionarily it was these non-human beings who evolved intelligence, empathy and language before we humans got a hold of these traits of being.

  2. Thanks for the great glad I can download and play while I walk/run..PBS had a great show on wild turkeys/human interaction..I have to learn to be a better Buddhist so I am not so sad thinking of what we are doing to other creatures bec of Global Warming

  3. Higher cogitative ability among invertebrates is also evidenced in predatory cone snails. Having examined them in tanks over a number of years I can attest to their ability to recognize their handlers. For an empathetic account of human interaction with a terrestrial snail I recommend Elisabeth Tova-Bailey’s recent book “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating”

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