What Are Animals Thinking? (Hint: More Than You Suspect)

Bacon & Things Shaped Like Bacon & Bacon & Squirrel! & Things shaped like SquirrelS! & Bacon & ...

Bacon & Things Shaped Like Bacon & Bacon & Squirrel! & Things shaped like SquirrelS! & Bacon & …

TIME

Let’s be honest, you’d probably rather die than wake up tomorrow morning and find out you’d turned into an animal. Dying, after all, is inevitable, and there’s even a certain dignity to it: Shakespeare did it, Einstein did it, Galileo and Washington and Twain all did it. And you, someone who was born a human and will live your life as a human, will end your life that way too.

But living that life as an animal — an insensate brute, incapable of reason, abstraction, perhaps even feeling? Unthinkable. Yes, yes, the animals don’t recognize the difference, and neither would you. If you’re a goat, you possess the knowledge of a goat, and that can’t be much. But there’s more to it than that.

Human beings have always had something of a bipolar relationship with the millions of other species with which we share the planet. We are fascinated by…

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