Monday, January 30, 2012

See Through a Dog's Eyes

In his book The Tiger, John Vaillant discusses the idea of umwelt, which is a German word meaning "environment," but is used by Jakob von Uexküll and Thomas A. Sebeok to mean an organism's view of the world.

So a tiger's umwelt wold be very different from a human's. The tiger would not only see things differently, but smell, hear, feel, taste, and on and on. How does walking on all fours affect one's viewpoint, for example? To enter the tiger's umwelt, one can only use one's imagination - imagine how the snow sounds to a tiger crunching under its paws, how the snow smells, what the breeze tells the tiger's whiskers.

How about the umwelt of a more common animal - a dog?  The video below, from a camera attached to a dog's collar during a visit to a dog park, is a wonderful aid if you're wondering how a dog sees the world.  The smells, sounds, tastes, and feel of it all is still up to your imagination...

Beautiful Day at the Dog Park from Kelsey Wynns on Vimeo.
It's also quite lovely and just fun to watch. Oh to be a dog at the dog park!

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