Naturalists need to pretend that great apes and dolphins think abstractly. It is critical to the mythology:
As the research in the field of genetics comes forth with the finding of mitochondrial Eve and other discoveries, the neo-Darwinists’ philosophy kicks against the goads. Most of the research in the field of language tries to show that human language is merely an extension of animals’ abilities. To be more specific here, the studies address the question of whether or not apes can acquire human language systems. Even though apes can indeed develop a fairly large vocabulary using symbols which correspond to real situations, the overall answer seems to be a loud “NO!” Apes, chimps and other primates cannot engage in human linguistic behaviors such as abstract thinking skills, which is a distinguishing mark of human language and a characteristic of true rationality and intelligence.Rob Lundberg, “Darwinism cannot answer the design in abstract thoughts & language” at Rob Lundberg’s Online Ministry Page
But there is always some new, ingenious attempt t pretend otherwise and that has been going on for decades:
Researchers: Apes are just like us! And we’re not doing the right things to make them start behaving that way…
Dolphinese: The idea that animals think as we do dies hard. But first it can lead us down strange paths.
The real reason why
only human beings speak. Language is a tool for abstract thinking—a necessary tool for abstraction—and humans are the only animals who think abstractly