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March 15th, 2012, 8:24 am
March 15th, 2012, 10:18 am
Bermudj wrote:What I have never seen in an animal is to have the concept of life. To me humans are the only animal which has the concept of life.
Avi Love wrote:Gorillas and chimpanzees both mourn the dead which is a clear indication of having a concept of life.
March 16th, 2012, 6:11 am
Avi Love wrote:Gorillas actually go through a mourning period as a family when they lose a child. The trainer at the zoo was telling me that they transfer the younger gorillas to other zoos to mate with other families so as to propagate the zoo populations. The last time one of the daughters got transferred, the entire family sulked around for a few months. They were shown pictures and video of the daughter in the new habitat, but the trainer said she's unsure if they understand that.
Avi Love wrote:To mourn a life over an extended period of time indicates a clear concept of a life as a complete whole. In order to have a mourning period (as opposed to just sniffing a corpse and recognizing death), the animal must be able to comprehend that the other animal was born, lived, and is now dead and not coming back.
This does not tell us how they handle the concept of a life on an individual level in their day to day experience, but I think it does tell us that they have a concept of it.
Avi Love wrote:Like with everything else, we've just taken it to new heights (self-help books, retirement funds, etc).
March 16th, 2012, 2:18 pm
Avi Love wrote:Unfortunately there is no way I can think of to confirm or deny this. I would still argue that the mourning period indicates something.
Avi Love wrote:You mentioned bulls searching for each other, but gorillas don't.
Avi Love wrote:They understand that the other gorilla died. It's gone, and it's not coming back. They go through an actual mourning period of the death of the family member not just a traumatic searching loss that you're describing in the bull. To me, this makes it likely that they do have a concept of death. I don't think your example indicates that the bull does. It simply recognizes the familiar animal is not there. For an animal to have an actual concept of death, I would argue that they may be aware that they will die as well. In humans, based exclusively on our behavior (no language), I don't know if there's anything that clearly indicates we know we're going to die either. Again, I think the most indicative human behavior of our knowledge of death is the ritualized mourning of the dead. That is a behavior we seem to see somewhat replicated in gorillas and elephants.
March 17th, 2012, 2:33 am
Avi Love wrote:Did you actually have an understanding that she had died or did people just seem sad that she wasn't there?
Avi Love wrote:So the real question is what causes an animal (including humans) to be aware of their own mortality, and what behaviors demonstrate that awareness? I don't have an answer to the first question, but I think that conducting a ritual and a prolonged mourning period are likely candidates for the second.
March 18th, 2012, 3:29 pm
Peter Kinnon wrote:Forget the vague and silly word "intelligence".
March 24th, 2012, 9:46 am
March 25th, 2012, 2:42 am
dparrott wrote:Can animals create things in their mind that they have never encountered?
March 25th, 2012, 5:10 am
Peter Kinnon wrote:On the other hand we can quite safely say that the elements of all these have been encountered before