The Threshold of Intelligent Life

What is 'Intelligent' life? It used to be a very simple question to answer, because we knew very little and assumed a great gap in capability between humanity and the rest of the species living on the planet. Several items have been proposed in the past as key : tool use, art, language, the ability to relate to others. 

What researchers are starting to find is that more varieties of life on Earth than we had previously thought are capable of doing all of these things. 

Not just our closest relatives, but even distant animals such as birds and fish have now been determined to be much more talkative and creative than we had ever given them credit for before.

Okay. Maybe speech and tool use isn't that impressive anymore. What about planning? Some recent videos show animals kidnapping and domesticating dogs (might be a bit disturbing).

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And domestication seems to work.

How about art? There is some question if animals can really appreciate what they are creating, but no question that they are creating it.

So what makes us special? It might only be learned behaviors.


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