The Thoughtful Animal

The Thoughtful Animal

Exploring the evolution and architecture of the mind

You're Not As Special As You Think


After being knocked out for a week by a flu (don't procrastinate on those vaccines, like I did) and coming back to a veritable avalanche of new data and (American) Thanksgiving, things are a little busy around here.

So, to keep you busy between carving up turkeys and decorating with gourds, and because I haven't been prompt about announcing them here, below are links to the five pieces I've written thus far for my column over at BBC Future, Uniquely Human, in reverse-chronological order. This might help get you through the long weekend.

Election day, animal style: How democracy works in nature.

Animals regularly make group decisions that directly affect their everyday lives. But without the convenience of machines or ballots, how do they vote?

Lords of the dance: Are humans the only species that enjoy dancing?

All cultures enjoy moving to the beat, but we’re beginning to discover we’re not the only ones with rhythm, other animals like to get into the groove.

Is language unique to humans?

Animals communicate with each other, and sometimes with us. But that’s where the similarity between animals and us ends, as Jason Goldman explains.

Pay attention… time for lessons at animal school.

Many species like meerkats school their offspring much like we do. But do they learn lessons like humans?

Death rituals in the animal kingdom.

We know humans find some form of value in guarding or watching the bodies of the deceased, but in the first article for his new column, Jason Goldman explains how we are beginning to discover that animals may have similar needs.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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