Read e-book online 10 Questions Science Can't Answer (Yet): A Guide to the PDF

By Michael Hanlon

ISBN-10: 0230622844

ISBN-13: 9780230622845

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Additional info for 10 Questions Science Can't Answer (Yet): A Guide to the Scientific Wilderness

Example text

A very few species seem to possess all of them. This list of markers begins with a ‘theory of mind’: the ability to know or guess what another being is thinking. ’. Humans older than about four can do it; adult chimps and bonobos possibly. No other species demonstrate this highest-order cognitive skill (severely autistic people and young children of all abilities seem to lack a theory of mind). Tool use, once thought to be the preserve of humanity, turns out to be very common. Various apes and birds, and even marine otters, can and do adapt natural materials to a variety of uses.

And anyway, what does this mean? Humans and chimps may be on neighbouring twigs on the evolutionary tree, but mentally we might as well be in different forests. Nevertheless, things like tool-using, language, a sense (perhaps) of fairness, and even emotions like humour and jealousy – all once thought to be the preserve of people – have now been observed, to greater and lesser degrees, in animals. It is likely that the more we probe the minds of the apes and monkeys, elephants, dogs, birds and probably even fish, the more impressive will be the intellectual machinery we will discover.

Will this still be the case if the chimpanzee asks us to stop? , de Waal, F. B. M. and Reiss, D. (2006) Self-recognition in an Asian Elephant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(45), 17053–7. 2 Weir, A. A. , Chappell, J. and Kacelnik, A. (2002) Shaping of hooks in New Caledonian crows. Science, 297, 981. 3 Emery, N. J. and Clayton, N. S. (2004) The mentality of crows: convergent evolution of intelligence in corvids and apes. Science, 306, 1903–7. 2 why is time so weird? 43 44 10 questions science can’t answer yet Time makes our lives.

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10 Questions Science Can't Answer (Yet): A Guide to the Scientific Wilderness by Michael Hanlon


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