A Matter of Interpretation?


Time, as it is known to humankind, is primarily unidirectional. Time moves forward…from point “A” to point “B”. It is measured fairly precisely…by an atomic clock no less. Humans see time as it befits our day to day activities (work, recreation, eating, lounging, conversation etc.). Over the past few weeks, I have been deep in thought about the concept of time as it pertains to other animals on planet Earth.

How is time perceived by other species? Is it based solely on diurnal cycles? By the seasons, by food availability? The cycles of the moon in the night sky? Does one calendar ‘year’ to say, a Mallard Duck, ‘feel’ the same as it does to me, a human?

Does time to this family of ducks operate akin to humans? Do the ducklings perceive time as dictated by the mother? (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2018)
Does the male Red-Winged Blackbird have an awareness of the timing between its calls? Or, are the calls ‘programmed’? (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2018)
Does this frog possess a sense of time as humans do? (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2018)
Do Chipmunks rely only on the seasonal ques in their caching behavior? (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2018)

It is fascinating how humans develop this concept of time to have other species relate to us. Humans have assigned a sort of ‘ratio’ for how many years a canine has compared to one human year. The general rule of thumb here is: 1 to 7. Each human year is equal to approximately several canine years. However, some argue that the first two years of a dogs life is equal to twenty years. So really, a dog that is 3 years old (3 trips around the sun) is actually 27 years old. I wonder how this concept applies to mice, snakes, fish, insects and reptiles–for example?

What do you think? How do you interpret time?

-Adam K.



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