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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Family ties bind desert lizards in social groups

Family ties bind desert lizards in social groups

Scientists used to believe that lizards were solitary creatures.However, as you can read by clicking on the link above, new scientific research conducted by scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, shows that a "species of lizard in the Mojave Desert lives in family groups and shows patterns of social behavior more commonly associated with mammals and birds. Their investigation of the formation and stability of family groups in desert night lizards (Xantusia vigilis) gives us greater insight into the origins of collective behavior in our own species.

Source of image of Xantusia vigilis:http://www.wildherps.com/species/X.vigilis.html


                                  Source of image:http://thomashawk.com/hello/209/1017/400/Strike.jpg
Studying why humans enter groups and how they interact in groups is a fascinating pursuit,especially if you are a rationalist like myself.  In fact an entire branch of the academic field of Sociology has developed to better understand how, why humans interact collectively. I have been blessed to take an academic course in "Collective Behavior" while I was in university. Sociologists have developed theories which try to explain and help them understand the collective behavior of our species. In reality one of these theories suggests that norms develop in groups which guide the behavior of individuals.  To learn more about the science of collective behavior visit these websites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_behavior 

http://www.trinity.edu/mkearl/socpsy-8.html 

http://pagerankstudio.com/Blog/2010/10/sociology-of-collective-behavior/ 

http://sociologyindex.com/collective_behavior.htm

http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Collective_behavior/id/1991836 

http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~pms/cj355/readings/emerson.pdf

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.