My star of the fourth and last episode of Ingenious Animals was the sloth, as it greenygreys for camouflage, according to the presenters anyway. However, despite loving the programme, sloths and moths, I have to question/criticise part of the genius assumption.
Everything can be Criticised
While most animals’ decision-making and actions in the series seemed instantly believable and understandable, a sloth using the chemicals of dead moths; in a relationship of mutual benefit, like fish cleaning bigger fish or mammals in the sea, or birds eating insects off mammals; seemed hard to accept.
Sloth or Nature Genius?
Do sloths really know the moths provide green for their grey, making them more camouflaged in the forest canopy?
It seems far-fetched on first hearing, but maybe that’s because the sloth seems slow and unintelligent. Maybe, it’s like a tortoise and hare thing, and the sloth’s slowness is deceiving.
It seems to be winning the evolution and survival race against some of the quicker animals, but that’s probably more to do with its location, and not being a threat or of high value to humans.
It’s also a relationship that has been present for millennia, so maybe the sloth knows the moth and its benefits as well as humanity knows the honey bee or totally friendly birds.
I still think ingenious is an overstatement for the sloth’s using it, compared to some of the actions of other animals, and think it is more an example of nature’s genius if anything.
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