Patt Morrison for August 13, 2010

Inside the complex minds of animals: they’re smarter than you think

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Bonobos at the Great Ape Trust are fluent in symbolic language and can formulate clear sentences and thoughts.

As you talk to your dog or cat about your day (admit it – all pet owners do it), do you ever wonder what your pets understand? How about when you point to them to sit down, why is it that they respond correctly? Are animals smarter than we actually think? In Time magazine’s recent cover story “Inside the Minds of Animals,” senior writer Jeffrey Kluger highlighted some revolutionary research that’s showing animals like great apes (bonobos, chimps and orangutans), dogs, and crows exhibit complex cognitive skills, skills that most humans thought were reserved to our own species. Bonobos at the Great Ape Trust are fluent in symbolic language and can formulate clear sentences and thoughts. But these new findings also expose the strained relationship between human and beast. If animals have thoughts, consciousness and process information, does this completely change how we treat them? And what do all these findings about animals mean about human evolution? Kluger and researchers talk with Patt to answer these questions and more.

Guests:



Jeffrey Kluger, senior writer, TIME magazine; wrote the Aug. 16th cover story “Inside the Minds of Animals”

Brian Hare, Ph.D., researcher at the Duke Canine Cognition Center


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