Scientists interested in cognitive ethology have begun to study learning in vertebrate and invertebrate animals, bolstered by the work of neurobiologists, who have discovered that any animal with loops between thalamus and forebrain is a conscious thinker. Birds, mammals, and reptiles all have such loops.
Sometimes we have unexpected visitors to our mountain dooryard. Last December 6, shortly after lunch, my husband, Bruce, stepped outside on our veranda. That was when a mink bounded past almost at his feet and down into the lilac shrubs next to the house. “I think I just saw a mink,” Bruce shouted to me…