What sets humans apart from other animal species?
Using tools? Using language? Other?
We already know other animal use tools and language
but at less advanced levels.
I'm among people who believe that it's mental illness
that separates humans from animals as a mismutated,
Most of limited research on this subject was done in a
different context, mainly because of caring for animals.
Wild animals haven't "evolved" to get mental illnesses
simply because individuals couldn't survive it alone and
groups didn't help them survive.
Humans couldn't survive individually either, but they did
"evolve" to make the ill among them survive. That made
humans to become sicker and sicker as a species.
Some argue that pet animal get anxiety, depression, etc.
Here is something on these that may be interesting read:
We know animals don't get self-destructive or addicted
to substances or behavior that are bad for them, like we
can learn to "develop tastes" for bitter/bad foods/drinks
or to derive pleasure from pain, or suicide, etc.
Having used the word "self-deception" a few days ago
gave me the idea to write about this subject, with more
emphasis on self-deception and gambling.
I first becamed interested in self-deception after reading
an article in Science Digest about whether a 1982 plane
crash (Flight 90) was caused by the self-deception of the
captain pilot. You can find and read numerous papers on
human self-deception if you are interested.
After writing a term paper on whether self-deception in
humans had any survival value, I also researched if there
was self-deception in other animal species. I don't think
there is and the only (questionable) research I heard of
is about crayfish males with smaller claws confronting
males with bigger claws, which I see as a bluffing that
many animals try in various ways. You read one article
about crayfish here if you want:
Bluffing is, of course, something humans do way too
often and especially in gambling. As I grew gradually
against gamblegammon, (and any kind of gambling),
I eventually realized that gambling was just one of the
mental illnesses that separated humans from animals.
But as I always do before reaching conclusions, I have
also researched some, whether other animals gambled.
I never heard of any naturally observed animal behavior
that can be considered gambling. Some people tried to
show that "trained" rats gambled, I consider such efforts
"bad science" like trying to make rams mount other rams
to show that aberrant sexual behavior exists in animals.
If you are want, you can read about gambling rats here:
To end on a positive note, here is a light-hearted article:
"7 Animals Better At Casino Gambling Than You Are"