Lori Marino and Debra Merskin, Intelligence, complexity, and individuality in sheep


The nature of sheep has been in plain view ever since the animals were domesticated about 10,000 years ago. Why their intelligence, individuality, and emotional complexity has been ignored is a question that goes well beyond Marino & Merskin’s timely target article. Not only has cognitive bias in favour of religious ideas in biology been involved, but the territorial nature of our own species is implicated as well. The tendency of Homo sapiens to see others in terms of “us” and “them” has resulted in a history of racism, speciesism, and general domination of any others that could be fitted into the category of “lesser life forms.” But whereas this tendency may be common to our species, science is supposed to be objective.

Author Biography

Ila France Porcher is an ethologist who began writing books about the behaviour and intelligence of sharks when the population of several hundreds she had been studying, through underwater observation, was massacred for shark fin soup. She is the author of The Shark Sessions, The True Nature of Sharks, and Merlin: The Mind of a Sea Turtle. Website