- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Live Chat: Do Animals Think Human Thoughts?
21 March 2012 8:58 am
See below for the chat box. Join us each Thursday at 3 p.m. EDT for a live conversation with leading scientists and expert reporters.
It seems that hardly a week goes by without a new report about animals performing marvelous feats we once thought only humans could do: Crows make tools, chimpanzees seem to mourn their dead, and rats supposedly empathize with one another’s pain. Do these findings suggest close similarities between human and animal minds? Or are there alternative ways of explaining the clever things that animals do, without invoking human-like cognition?
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Elske van der Vaart
Elske van der Vaart is a PhD student at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, where she uses computer models to study the intelligence of corvids. She puts different cognitive assumptions into a kind of ‘virtual bird’, in order to test what kinds of behavior they produce. In this way, she hopes to help empirical scientists interpret the results of their experiments.
James Thom is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge's Comparative Cognition Laboratory, where he studies foresight and decision making in western scrub-jays. Scrub-jays are members of the crow family, corvids, who rely extensively on food stored in the ground. James is seeking to understand what his scrub-jays know of the relationship between storing food and the consumption of that food later on.