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May 23, 1908


JAMA. 1908;L(21):1695. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02530470033009

It is one of the puzzling questions of comparative psychology how to account for the homing instinct of certain of the lower animals. Remarkable stories occasionally go the rounds of the lay press, some of them doubtless apocryphal, of cats and dogs finding their way home over hundreds of miles of territory which must have been absolutely unknown to them by any former experience. Less striking instances have probably, at some time or another, come under almost everybody's observation. Mr. Benjamin Kidd, the well-known English writer, has recently discussed1 this faculty, which he considers the most remarkable phenomenon in animal instinct. He points out that it apparently bears no necessary relation to the general intelligence of the animal. Moreover, as many have observed, it is not an endowment of every individual of those species which display it most; there are many dogs and some cats that appear to have it

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