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lillycoyote's avatar

Do you think that science will someday find evidence that animals have much richer inner lives and much more complex cognitive skills than we now give them credit for?

Asked by lillycoyote (24835points) June 8th, 2010

Much richer inner lives, much richer emotional lives, more complex social lives and social structures and much more complex, meaningful and higher functioning cognitive abilities than we now believe them capable of?

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13 Answers

roundsquare's avatar

Based on what would someone make such a prediction? (Maybe there is something that I don’t know about… so its a real question).

MissAnthrope's avatar

It depends on the species, but yes, I do. Scientists are discovering this even now. For example, elephants have complex social structures, they communicate in their own language, they are highly intelligent, and seem to be capable of feeling emotion. They show grief and mourn when one of the herd dies, concern when one is injured, and I doubt they are the only animal species capable of such depth. Dolphins come to mind as another.

lillycoyote's avatar

@roundsquare Yes, its a real question and no, no one made a prediction. And based on what? Nothing. It is a purely speculative inquiry.

partyparty's avatar

ALL animals are more perceptive than we give them credit. A family pet knows exactly what our mood is, and they react instinctively to that mood. Why I wonder? Humans have much to learn about animals. Good question

reverie's avatar

Yes, I do think we will discover more about non-human animal minds and what they are capable of, although I am not sure the extent of what we will discover, and whether we will ever develop the means to explore this issue fully, and really do it justice.

As we develop new experimental paradigms, we discover things about other species that we had not known before, for example,
the way that crows are able to fashion and use tools to retrieve objects (makes me think twice before calling anyone “bird brain”!).

Personally, I am excited to think about all of the undiscovered methods of testing and measuring mental capacities of animals, and what we will discover when we develop the techniques to explore this fascinating area in more detail. It’s even more exciting to think outside the box, and imagine that animal minds may be capable of things we aren’t even aware that we should explore.

zenele's avatar

Nope. Imvho, what you see is what you get. Animals are just that, each one beatiful and unique – but at the stage they are at in evolution.

Scientists and Naturalists study them constantly. Today with MRI’s and CaT scans and such, toegether with scientific study, I don’t think we’ll be too suprised by even the smartest of mammals, i.e. the dolphins and chimps.

partyparty's avatar

@MissAnthrope Totally agree with your answer. We as humans have so much to learn about animals :-)

El_Cadejo's avatar

man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much – the wheel, New York, wars and so on – whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man – for precisely the same reasons

I dont think we as humans give enough credit to the intelligence of other animals.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Humans are the chumps when it comes to understanding other species. We cannot communicate with them so we think they’re dumb? You have to study animal behavior closely and then you can pick up how close their actions come to some of ours.

prescottman2008's avatar

No, but I’m willing to bet that they’ll conjecture, assume and pre-suppose enough about it that they’ll fool a lot of people into thinking that’s the case.

tinyfaery's avatar

Maybe, but it hardly matters to me. I don’t need science to tell me what I see on almost a daily basis.

IMHO, we have to be one of the dumbest animals in existence; we don’t even learn from our mistakes.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@tinyfaery That is probably one of the best answers ever to this question.

mattbrowne's avatar

No. Rather the opposite. More and more people realize that dolphins are actually not smiling.

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