Frans de Waal On Animal Intelligence And Emotions

Mark Leviton in The Sun:

Leviton: Darwin wrote that the difference in mind between humans and higher animals is “one of degree and not of kind.” What do you think he meant?

De Waal: I think Darwin meant that the way we think is not fundamentally different from the way other species think, and I’m completely in agreement with him, even though people have attacked him for it over the years and said this was one of the things he was wrong about. There are some elements to human thought processes that are special, but the whole structure of cognition — how it works, what we can comprehend, how we find solutions to problems — is not so different. Human cognition is a variety of animal cognition.

Leviton: Why do you think some people have such a hard time accepting that idea?

De Waal: It’s strange, especially at a time when neuroscience is showing us the similarities between the monkey brain and the human brain. For instance, there’s no part of a human brain that you don’t also find in a monkey brain. There are no synapses or transmitters that are different. Even the blood supply is the same. We do have bigger brains, it’s true, which is certainly important.

Let me tell you a funny story about that.

More here.