Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Ravens have a theory of mind?

arroba Email

Just as chimpanzees are claimed to have sacred rituals, we now hear from New Scientist that

Ravens’ fear of unseen snoopers hints they have theory of mind

The results [of the experiment] suggest ravens can generalise from their own perceptual experience to infer the possibility of being seen by others who are not visibly present.

“This proves they have a basic understanding of seeing, which is a basic form of a theory of mind,” says Bugnyar. “This basically means that some non-human animals can indeed evolve this particular ability of attributing a mental state to another one, which has always been considered to be one of the unique human abilities.” More.

If the experiment, which showed that ravens are aware of unseen thieves, means that ravens have a theory of mind, so do squirrels and many other life forms. But that isn’t usually what we mean by a theory of mind.

The raven doesn’t need to know what a raven lurking out of sight is thinking, or what thinking even is. He just knows that he must be vigilant while his catch is visible, more so if he fears imminent theft. For one thing, unlike a squirrel, he does not have cheek pouches.

See also: Furry, feathery, and finny animals speak their minds

Do chimpanzees have sacred rituals? These people need chimpanzees to have a religion really bad, though they probably don’t want one themselves.


In search of the minimal self

Follow UD News at Twitter!


Leave a Reply