Distinguishing Culture in other Animal Species – No

The word itself, “culture” is “man made” and yet it can be can be applied in other animal species.

Culture:  “Of/or relating to intellectual or artistic (refined)  matters, or to a specific culture.”    Refined:  “Free from impurities or defects”

The “culture” of many bird species is in building a nest as was taught to attract the opposite sex.  Some bird species use straw and grasses, others use softer materials like animal hairs, feathers, and soft man-made materials that litter our roadsides, fields, etc.,

The male bird must not only be colorful but also must be willing and able to dance, court, make all the appropriate “noises” to attract the female of his same species.  He has learned from his mother and she from hers what is acceptable for her specific breed to raise a healthy chick.  For each specific species there is a “mandatory” requirement, from it’s “culture” as a species on what will be adequate for making a nest and rearing the next generation but always there are exceptions.  Would a female Starling for example breed under the best circumstances with a male missing feathers, with cloudy eyes, and no dance or color?  Not unless in her “culture” given to her by her mother (only females rear their young in birds and many species) dictates otherwise as a possibility. 

In the male bird species there are colors, lots of color when compared to the female which in many bird species appear “bland” by comparison;  nature has provided these colors to attract the attention of the female for mating.  A female who’s “culture” in rearing which included lessons on what is acceptable will breed with “inferior” males therefore producing “inferior” offspring if this female’s mother was not what we would consider “selective”.  These hatching’s will have health and survival issues that will and do provide for natural selection; only the strong survive. “Culture” is therefore what is considered for a species to survive well enough to stay around.

Wild horses are a good example of the humans’ definition of “culture” and how it’s imposed on other species.  We need not look too hard to see “natural selection” born of “culture” to see that humans have manipulated and distorted the view of the “standard” for any horse, dog, cat, sheep, etc., it wishes to register with the appropriate species “standard”.  We now have dogs that can no longer reproduce on their own without the aid of Vets, horses that suffer from ligament strain and hock malformation, cats that can’t hear our loving words because the human defines “culture” and attaches it to “class” .  Should this be exclusive to the human species, this word “culture”?  It’s never been we have just decided that only we know how “exclusively perfect” it is. 

There are pods of Orca that are documented as either fish eaters or seal eaters, all depending on the “culture” of the pod as the young are being taught the lessons of that particular pod.  This is a form of culture handed down from the history and health of the pod in which this Orca was raised.  It comes from either knowing that these forms of nutrition have proven good result or are due to simple preference.

The need of survival of any species depends on historically what has and hasn’t worked for success.  Animals, despite our belief in their way, understand “culture” on a level necessary for survival.  The human animal however has decided and determined “culture” to be “refinement”.  This refinement is associated with large salaries and a love of that which is considered “the finer things in life”;  Refine:  “Free from defects”.  

For each species there are standards.  Catholics told to marry only another Catholic…it is after all the “culture”.  Jews who should and can only marry another Jewish person;  it is after all culture whose seeds are as old as the Bible itself  in years of culture.

We cannot decide culture on our own human terms because in the animal kingdom they have their own and it’s based primarily on survival of the species whereas the human definition of culture has been as has all things touched by the human, a perverted sense of superior gift or extension; perfection, and therefore in this the exclusion of any other animal as being capable of same.

Does this seem artistic and/or refined? 

Although a “man-made” term;  culture…., as we attempt to mold our world, all that is in it to our standard we take a great journey on a road of misunderstanding, selfishness,  and I can’t help but wonder if history when told will show a people of no “culture”.