Did the biblical author Agur son of Jakeh know something which researchers have only just discovered? He introduces a list with
Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise
Proverbs 30:24 (NIV)
and one of the four creatures he lists is the hyrax or rock badger, which
are creatures of little power,
yet they make their home in the crags.
Proverbs 30:26 (NIV)
As I wrote before, this small furry mammal is considered a pest in modern Israel. But this also makes it convenient for study by that controversial state’s scientists. I didn’t know that the hyrax sings, actually rather like a bird. The BBC reports the discovery of Arik Kershenbaum and others from the University of Haifa that this song is surprisingly complex:
the order of the notes is significant, suggesting that the songs have syntax. …
This research places the hyrax in a small and eclectic group of skilled animal communicators, including primates, whales, birds and bats. …
Dr Kershenbaum said that … the hyrax was not thought of as an intelligent animal …
… but it seems that Agur son of Jakeh knew better when he called it “extremely wise”.