MovieChat Forums > Arrival (2016) Discussion > Why did the team keep a bird with them?

Why did the team keep a bird with them?


Whenever they visited they took a bird in a cage with them. Why?
At first I thought so they can see if air is getting thin or poisoned. But they had suits on ... so why?

thanks!

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Whenever they visited they took a bird in a cage with them. Why?
At first I thought so they can see if air is getting thin or poisoned. But they had suits on ... so why?

It would indeed be to keep a simple check on the air quality: the canary is probably the most famous "sentinel species", and is best known for being used as an early warning system in mines.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentinel_species#Historical_examples

I understand what you're saying about the team being suited anyway, but the canary means that they've still got a living creature to test the environment of the alien spaceship. Perhaps the long-term plan was always to do away with the suits at some point once they were convinced it was safe, but Louise just jumped the gun.

Something else worth mentioning is that some have also seen the bird as being a reference to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where Roy and Jillian take a pair of caged birds into the restricted area as a early warning system for the (alleged) nerve gas spillage.

--
"So I've got bullets, but no gun. That's quite Zen."

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It is the old canary in a coal mine thing. 🐭

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You're taking a too myopic view of the circumstances. Poisonous atmosphere is certainly a possibility, but as are other unknown dangers such as undetectable forms of radiation, brain-melting telepathic waves, lethal, out-of-ordinary sonic vibrations, bizarre gravitational waves, undiscovered electromagnetic frequencies, and a plethora of anything else you can imagine. Having a tiny, fragile animal at least in some ways akin to our form of life was a necessary precaution.

"I'm doing good in the game, so I'm doing good in life!" - Charlie Kelly

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Ever heard of "A canary in a coal mine?"

"Interesting, you saved the day by destroying the world."

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Because they don't have high-tech instruments to check any of those things today.

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High tech instruments can detect things that you are looking for. They detect the known unknowns. A dead bird can alert you to something unknown. You don't need to know *why* the bird died to tell you that the enviroment is harmful. Why would you assume your earthly instruments can detect everything harmful in an alien environment.

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The elements, and their combinations, are known. A spectrograph could have been used to determine the composition of the aliens' atmosphere. Bird was more dramatic, though.

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So you are saying we should only account for the things we know when visiting an unknown environment like an alien spaceship.

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As far as elements making up the environment are concerned, yes. There's no scientific reason to assume that aliens have or exist in elements that remain unknown to us. In reality, instruments would be used to identify the composition of the atmosphere inside the alien spacecraft. However, I realize this is a movie, not reality, and the bird was undoubtedly more dramatic and entertaining. I enjoyed it.

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As far as elements making up the environment are concerned, yes. There's no scientific reason to assume that aliens have or exist in elements that remain unknown to us. In reality, instruments would be used to identify the composition of the atmosphere inside the alien spacecraft. However, I realize this is a movie, not reality, and the bird was undoubtedly more dramatic and entertaining. I enjoyed it.


Non Sequitur. The're is no scientific reason to assume at first contacts the aliens even use carbon based life or DNA for that matter. We can conclude the aliens came from an environment not of our earth which leaves the possibility they came from a world that has phenomena we may not have observed on earth yet especially with chemical reactions alone. Hell they appear to be transdimensional beings all together so who knows what new particles and forms of matter their bringing with them let alone biological hazards. Hell I personally would have used robotic probes and not even sent a team in. I'm all for first contact (not really) but we should try to make sure we don't risk going exinct before we start first contact. On earth All six kingdoms of life have entities that are hostile to other organisms. Yes even poisones plants that kill insects for nitrates.

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Wow. Don't want THIS person on my exploritory team.... can't accept the POSSIBILITY of anything outside known science... YIKES :D

He/She embodies everything wrong about the religion of science in one paragraph. :)

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Are you saying that if the atmosphere doesn't kill a canary it must therefore logically be assumed that it won't kill humans?

The canary was fucking dumb. End of.

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Are you saying that if the atmosphere doesn't kill a canary it must therefore logically be assumed that it won't kill humans?

The canary was fucking dumb. End of.


No one suggested the converse was true in that a live canary means a live human. Its just another way to see if the alien environment is harmful to biological matter in this case one that is similar to humans. Its not a guarantee, just another test for failure to abort the mission amd start a bird autopsy when they start dying. IE a dead canary means with high probability a dead human. I'm pretty sure they were testing if the bird would get sick off bacteria or viruses. Things that are hard to detect normally with spectrometers or instruments in general. No this doesn't remove the danger and it wasn't a good idea for our female lead to take of her helmet. Thats what we call stupid. Not the fact that they used a canary.

Do you think it was dumb that we humans sent monkeys and dogs into orbit before we tried our luck with humans? We sent them first to see if radiation would mess them up. The effects of radiation wern't that well understood back then it wasn't till people started getting sick from nuclear bomb tests that we started paying attention. Like wise who knows what Aliens will bring with them. Being transdimensional they could be bringing new fundamental particles for all we know. Just like how we were ignorant of radiation being so destructive to our biology.

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Except they didn't send monkeys and dogs to test the environment; they sent them to test their reaction to that environment already having a very good ide of what the effects would be. They learnt something from those (extremely cruel) experiments. What they didn't learn was... durr... can we breathe?

The canary living tells them absolutely nothing.

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Its not a living canary we are going to draw conclusions from.
True or false if we end up with dead canaries did we learn something?
Like I said before our conclusion is
dead canary -> extreme high probability dangerous for humans

we never said anything about this being a sort of bi conditional statement.
live canary -> live human
live human -> live canary

with a dead canary we can then try to determine the cause of death or illness.
oh yea we should probably get the team out as well which is actually something I would have suggested from the begining.

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Live canary tells you nothing about how the environment will affect humans.
Dead canary tells you something about how the environment might affect humans.

Detector tells you exactly the same things. End of.

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What detector are you reffering to a spectrometer that can't see bacteria and viruses?

You made a bold statement that using a bird is stupid while I'm telling you that exposing a live organism to new biological environment yeilds far greater information than a simple spectro detector.

What kind of detector are you reffering too? Do you think tricorders are intruments in real life or something?

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Firstly, do you think giant space ships hovering over earth exist?

Excellent. Thought not.

Secondly, the canary tells them nothing that instruments wouldn't. If there is bacteria that kills canaries, that doesn't mean it will affect humans. If there is a bacteria that doesn't affect canaries that doesn't mean it won't instantly kill humans.

The bird was moronic. Deal with this. I know it hurts but you're a big boy now.

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Yup, just a troll.

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Its a good thing they are not in the position to make first contact decisions. There against finding a real save solution in favor of this Trump like "My Ideas should never be questioned and I must never be proven wrong" thinking would get this planet killed real fast.

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Humans can only scan for things they know about, dopey. And even then, only if they have the means. Using a low tech solution is what you do when in doubt.

You need to stop trolling.

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When you're following people around on a forum... you've probably gone to the bad place.

There are various creams available for butthurt at your local chemist.

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Wasnt following you around, just came across your post. Paranoid much mr troll? IN any case, the canery is there to warn of any shift in atmosphere. End of discussion. No need to keep it going unless your just trolling.

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If the canary dies... what do you do? Take off your helmet? Nope, so pointless.

If the canary lives... what do you do? Take off your helmet? Nope, so pointless.

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Its not pointless. No more than it was pointless when used in mining. Damn dude, most people either admit they got it wrong or just move on and pretend it never happened. Not you though, you just double down on stupid. I guess youre one of them 'must get the last word' types. How sad.

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Miners didn't wear oxygen masks, you globule of idiot pudding. THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF USING A CANARY!!!!

Necessity!

Utter cretin!!

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Oh dear god, how can you be so dumb and still be able to work a keyboard? Its a NEW ALIEN ENVIRONMENT. They dont KNOW anything about it, why would they not take advantage of every detection device they have?

Ive already mentioned that humans can only scan for what they KNOW, and only if they have the means. You are dumb as fuck, mate. Its no wonder you think the brown people and the disabled are the problem in this country. You're wilfully ignorant of anything and everything if it proves you wrong.

Utter bellsniff.

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FordFarilane its clear the majority of the population don't agree witj painbows crazy flawed argument so we eventually just stop arguing with crazy. And by crazy I'm reffering to the repeated logical fallacies which have destroyed his credability. His arguments are all based on non sequitur, strawman arguments then dropping lower to insulting ad hominem attacks. Painbow is either a deliberate troll or a fool that believes Face saving is more important then learning the correct solution to dealing with a first encounter situation. If he's actually trying to save face he's not doing a good job of it so lets give the benifit of a doubt and assume he's a troll. At least then he's actually meeting his own expectations. If he's the former we should just let him be. If he's the latter lets just hope he will eventually learn that saving face is less important then developing critical thinking skills. :(

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Hello moron.

Question: What do people wearing breathing masks learn from the canary living or dying that will affect their decision to continue wearing breathing masks or not?

Go!

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We've already answered your question repeatedly. Your done.

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Nope.

What do people WEARING BREATHING MASKS learn from the canary living or dying that will affect their decision to continue wearing breathing masks or not?


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We are not talking about the breating masks. We are talking about future contact with people of earth in general were nearly all the population lacks a breathing mask. You still don't get that so your done.

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LOL what?

We're talking about future contact... bah ha ha ha ha ha ha

No, we're fucking not.

Human beings can breath quite easily on earth, thanks. Are we all going to planet squid for a holidays?

Wow, you'll literally say anything won't you.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha

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This is my last response to you. I'm not going to entertain your arguments any further as you have a bizarre way of thinking and have demonstrated you have poor logical and critical thinking skills. I'm sure you probably think this means you've some how won the argument via having the last word but we really don't have the energy to be triffled with your pseudo logic. We're are all dissapointed in your lack of ability to engage in meaningful dialog. so you'll get no more from me at the very least. You'll have to troll some one else.

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Dats waycist.

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Blah blah blah

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Dats waycist.

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Blah blah blah, still trying to get the last word like a true internet loser.

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Daaaats waycist.

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Yea I saw that. I also saw him blaming women for being raped. I still don't know what motivates a troll. They seem to live in their own fantasy world where they are winning at something. I think its a form of histrionic disorder. Nothing more then a powerful urge to draw attention to ones self. Even if its totally negative.

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Daaats waycist.

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blah blah blah

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Daaats waycist too.

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Poor baby

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What are you talking about you deluded fuck? Still desperate for the last word. How sad.

Don't respond to him. It feeds his illusion that his opinion deserves a response.

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Yea looks like he moved the bar on what he thinks is winning too. I actually suspect he's a child himself. I don't know for sure I haven't really examined more then a few of his posts but I keep imagining an angry fat kid pounding away at his keyboard yelling or yelling at the TV or something.

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Have you ever seen the weird trolls that switch accounts and start aruging with themselves. I knew a girl that used to do that with facebook. She spawmed like 4 sock accounts and kept on trying to convince people she had some rare form of cancer. We even busted her when she accidently logged into the wrong sock account using the wrong personality.

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lol I have see a few of those. On a football website theres this guy, still there actually, who regularly starts a thread topic and then answers it himself with a different account to make is bullshit points seem reasonable.

To give you just one example of those points, he thinks fans of a football team dont matter. That a team can exist without fans. Because you know, sponsors and tv deals are bringing in the money lol.

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yea. This chick was fooling a lot of people that didn't know her that well. She was always "allegedly" being taken to MD Andersan hospital in houston by her sock puppet friends that would always ask for prayer from church groups then she'd come back healed by god. :(

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yea that kind of ignores the fact that many team owners will block local broadcast from airing the game in an attempt to force people to see the game in the stadium. Over here where I'm from broadcasters aren't allowed to show a game unless it sells out tickets.

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what about viruses and microbes a spectrograph won't see those.

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