# Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

title
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
author
Frans de Waal
personal rating
4/5
tags
Books, Neuroscience ⭐

Why is it that facial expression is universally consistent?

## Language As Root Of Thought

If language were at the root of thought, why is it that we sometimes find ourselves at a loss for words?

Language is one of the distinguishing features of the human species. Other species are able to exhibit similar or higher levels of cognitive function without an equally powerful language.

As humans, we are able to use language to communicate ideas that transcend time, and this has been essential for our survival.

## The Social Brain Hypothesis

The intelligence required to effectively deal with social networks may explain why the primate order underwent its remarkable brain expansion.

## Consciousness

There is claim that humans are the only species that consciously access the past and the future, but recent evidence shows otherwise. Either animals also posses consciousness, or consciousness is not a necessary ingredient for such introspection.

## Names

Some species like dolphins use signature whistles, which is analogous to human names.

## Studying cognition

Neuroscience may tell us where things happen in the brain, but does not help us formulate new theories or design insightful tests of cognition.

Instead of making humanity the measure of most things, we need to evaluate other species for what they are.