Last Friday I gave a lecture day at the Dutch Veterinary Homeopathy College in Lochem. At this institute people are educated to include homeopathy in their treatment of animals. In an old farm in which all kinds of teaching facilities had been built, I gave an interesting story about the multiple forms of animal communication and about the language research with various animals. Of course everyone was very intrigued by my story about the great apes with whom it was attempted to teach them a form of human language. I discussed my own research and showed several films of my work. There was a big interest in the exciting recent research on the understanding of human pointing and other human cues by dogs, cats, horses, and other animals. The domestication hypothesis in this respect led to a lively discussion about the abilities of dogs in particular to understand our human communication. I also presented the recent fun studies with border collies, like the German Rico who can understand 200 human words for all kinds of toy objects, the Austrian Betsy who knows more than 340 words, and finally Chaser from the US, who in a big project by John Pilley eventually managed to comprehend 1.022 words. I am curious to see if there are people in the Netherlands with a border collie who can understand many human words.
The organization of the lecture day was well taken care of, and the audience was very enthousiastic and motivated. I could notice that they already had a large knowledge about many things. Next year I will return for a presentation about animal ethics.
Several people took pictures and videos of me while I was lecturing. Below you will find two short videos of me during my presentation. Unfortunately the volume is very low, but it gives an impression of my teaching.