Writing 101: Monkey Mindreading
Instructor: Lindsey Smith
Due to schedule constraints and curiosity, I decided to take Dr. Lindsey Smith’s Writing 101: Monkey Mindreading knowing virtually nothing about the topic. Dr. Smith introduced me to the study of animal cognition, focusing mainly on primates, and I learned exactly what cognitive abilities are truly possessed by our distant relatives. Not only was I exposed to the intellectual abilities necessary for survival in all species, but I became aware of the building blocks to my own cognition.
I discovered the unique abilities of European honey bees (Apis mellifera) after an extensive search for my final essay topic. I was immediately drawn to their communication style, and the intricacies of the dance language as it is used today. Growing up a competitive dancer, I was well versed in the expressive power of dance, but I was not aware of its practical uses. Researching and reporting on honey bees opened my eyes to the power of dance, and how a seemingly simple species has intellectual complexities far greater than I ever imagined.
I would like to thank Dr. Smith for opening my eyes to the wonders of animal cognition and pushing me to my fullest potential as a writer. This essay would not be complete without Dr. Sheryl Welte Emch and the Deliberations editorial board, who have worked diligently and patiently with me throughout the editing process, so I would like to extend a thank you to them as well. A final thanks to my mother, who preaches that the best way to learn is by teaching someone else, for being the best student in my exploration of honey bees.