Self-awareness in animals

The question then arises as to whether or not the absence of language also implies the absence of either consciousness or thought, or in fact whether the communication between animals is in fact related closely enough to that of humans that language ceases to be an issue when investigating the difference between human and animal consciousness, (Lea Kiley-Worthington, 1996).

There is reasonably strong evidence to suggest that not only can animals communicate with each other, but they can in fact learn to communicate with humans. Apes, in particular have been proven to be particularly adept at learning American sign language, or other symbolic versions of communication to the extent that in 1998, a gorilla called Koko reportedly communicated via American Sign Language her hopes for freedom, and to have a baby, over the internet, (www.koko.org). A chimpanzee called Kanzi has also been reported to understand a version of symbolic sign language developed by her trainer Sue Savage-Rumbah, and can in fact carry out actions such as picking up a straw, or carrying rubbish to another trainer when instructed to do so, (Wynne, 1999). These examples, appear to be compelling evidence for


 
 
 
 
 
 



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