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  • By Ed Yong

    You’re holding a surprise party for a friend. The door opens, the lights flick on, everyone leaps out… and your friend stands there silent and unmoved. Now, you’re the one who’s surprised. You a […]

    • When I read the article I realized that they are mainly interested in a theory of mind in primates and didn’t concern themselves with theory of mind in other animals as the title suggests. But there is one animal that I think may have it – Ravens.

      https://www.newscientist.com/article/2076025-ravens-fear-of-unseen-snoopers-hints-they-have-theory-of-mind/

    • @OP – Are We the Only Animals That Understand Ignorance?

      Humans have a very long history of ASSUMING that other animals do not share various human abilities – only to be proved wrong when modern observation techniques and technologies give detailed information in studies!

      That has already been been shown with tool use and with communication.

      I would be amazed if if those species who hunt in groups, or act as ambush predators, did not show some understanding of the ignorance of their tactics or of their presence, in the hunted.

      In some species like Dolphins, some group/family members have specialist skills and specialist roles, which are recognised by others.

      Many hunting species recognise the vulnerability of the inexperienced young of their prey.

    • Ted Foureagles #3
      Aug 2, 2016 at 10:53 am

      My cat’s favorite game was to sit atop our glass dining table and incite the puppy to repeatedly jump up and bang her nose on the underside.

      Some years ago my neighbour had a young Tom cat and a Retriever puppy only a few months old.

      The cat would tease the puppy and then jump up on to the branch of an apple tree in the garden which was just out of reach of the puppy.

      Imagine his surprise when as the puppy grew, a couple of months later, the pup leapt right over the branch collecting the cat by the scruff of the neck, took him into the house, and presented him to the lady of the house as a present!

      Ignorance reversed!!

    • Based upon an education and evidence, I support the validity of evolution, so the process of developing the human mind did not just happen as an isolated event, nor did it just suddenly appear, instantly. I anticipate that the parts that make up the mind can be found distributed across the animal kingdom, but in what combination(s) and to what effect I don’t know, the gene motifs being conserved to various degrees. I will not be surprised if experimentation illuminates that various aspects of the mind are found within other animals, maybe even insects (which would be a very interesting experiment).

      A few decades ago I watched a science documentary about speech, or something, and a very tiny gene mutation (perhaps one or two, or a few nucleotides) was explained as being responsible for some human physiological feature important to speech, maybe it was the design of the tongue or jaw. Watching the show, my first thought was to wonder about all the other wild animals out there with a brain, and sense organs, that may have interest/reason to communicate but lack the body features to articulate the act, so developing, let alone teaching, a language would be next to impossible, for a large group to sustain the language over multiple generations.

      Casual observations, a bit off topic:
      A snake that gives birth to live young from a womb, no eggs.
      An insect that couples up with a life partner and sleeps together each night cuddled up.
      An insect that builds a nest for its eggs, to hatch, and then feeds the kids like a bird, returning to the nest.
      A stalking cat, stopping when looked at, and moving when not being looked at.
      A monkey grabbing food when the human caretaker leaves or looks away.
      Crows teaching their kids to stay away from dangerous animals.
      Odd animals with interspecie relationships, to hunt, play, live.
      Birds giving a warning call to other birds out of sight.

      Trump seems to understand ignorance, so maybe we’re not the only animals.

    • Humans have a very long history of ASSUMING that other animals do not share various human abilities

      Hmm, but don’t the majority of people ASSUME that animals have human traits that in most cases have nothing innately human in them?

    • M27Holts #6
      Aug 2, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Humans have a very long history of ASSUMING that other animals do not share various human abilities

      Hmm, but don’t the majority of people ASSUME that animals have human traits that in most cases have nothing innately human in them?

      The former often have taken their assumptions from “Man the special creation of god”!

      The latter have taken their anthropomorphic understanding of zoology, from cartoon animals and fables: – a bit like YECs taking ancient human history from “The Flintstones”!

      It is often indicative of their level of understanding, that their concept of “an animal”, is of a quadruped which is big enough to fall over!