We have always believed that animals do not think -- at least, not in a meaningful way -- nor suffer and worry. They have no conscience or even an understanding of abstract concepts, like the future or their own mortality. They may mate but they don't love. They might as well just be little automatons, without much self-awareness, simply following some very basic instructions laid out by their DNA and played out by their infinitely inferior brains.
We also might be completely wrong about that.
In this article in Time.com, Jeffrey Kluger talks about his experiences with a human-raised ape capable of communication and what has been discovered by scientific research about other animals.
Pointing isn't the only indicator of a smart species that grasps the theory of mind. Blue jays cache food for later retrieval and are very mindful of whether other animals are around to witness where they've hidden a stash. If the jays have indeed been watched, they'll wait until the other animal leaves and then move the food. They not only understand that another creature has a mind; they also manipulate what's inside it.
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