Far more animals than previously thought likely have consciousness, top scientists say in a new declaration — including fish, lobsters and octopus.

Bees play by rolling wooden balls — apparently for fun. The cleaner wrasse fish appears to recognize its own visage in an underwater mirror. Octopuses seem to react to anesthetic drugs and will avoid settings where they likely experienced past pain.

All three of these discoveries came in the last five years — indications that the more scientists test animals, the more they find that many species may have inner lives and be sentient. A surprising range of creatures have shown evidence of conscious thought or experience, including insects, fish and some crustaceans.

That has prompted a group of top researchers on animal cognition to publish a new pronouncement that they hope will transform how scientists and society view — and care — for animals.

Nearly 40 researchers signed “The New York Declaration on Animal Consciousness,” which was first presented at a conference at New York University on Friday morning. It marks a pivotal moment, as a flood of research on animal cognition collides with debates over how various species ought to be treated.

  • FuglyDuck
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    521 month ago

    We don’t even know what sentience/sapience/whatever is. We have some thoughts, people argue about the definitions, and stuff; but really… it all comes down to… “are they like us”… but we don’t even really know what that means.

    So no. It’s not obvious. (Particularly because humans are surprisingly stupid.)

    • @frankgrimeszz
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      81 month ago

      To people who spend a lot of time around animals or even sea creatures, it may be obvious that they’re more like us than most would assume.

    • @[email protected]
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      330 days ago

      To put it another way, humans just aren’t that special. We started from the assumption that we are somehow fundamentally different

      We keep finding out that all sorts of animals have language and culture, and it blows my mind that apparently, just about everything seems to have something akin to a name