All vertebrates, mollusks and even insects have consciousness – now officially

Consciousness in simple terms is the ability to think, reason, remember and determine one’s attitude to reality. Our images, impressions, anticipation are manifestations of consciousness. Scientists have long debated whether animals have consciousness like humans. Even Charles Darwin asked this question at one time, but to this day there is no clear answer. However, recently more and more scientists are inclined to believe that animals still have consciousness. Now a group of 39 biologists and philosophers from different countries have signed the New York Declaration, according to which all vertebrates have consciousness, including birds, reptiles and fish, as well as cephalopods and even some species of insects.

All vertebrates, mollusks and even insects have consciousness — now officially. Scientists have come to the conclusion that even insects have consciousness. Photo.

Scientists have come to the conclusion that even insects have consciousness

Pisces recognize themselves in the mirror and in photographs

The basis for the New York Declaration was the discoveries of scientists in recent years, which indicate the presence of intelligence in various creatures. For example, we previously talked about how fish turned out to be much smarter than previously thought. For example, wrasse recognize themselves in the mirror. If they see a stain in their reflection, they try to get rid of it on their body, just as people do when they see in the reflection that their clothes are dirty.

One study even showed that wrasse can recognize themselves in photos. This suggests that fish are able to think about themselves and identify themselves, that is, they truly have consciousness. Some tests have also shown that other fish have curiosity, which is also a manifestation of intelligence.

Pisces recognize themselves in the mirror and in photographs. Wrasse fish recognize themselves in photographs. Photo source: Photo.

Wrasse fish recognize themselves in photographs. Photo source:

Similar «mirror» Chimpanzees and dolphins also undergo the test. As you know, both monkeys and dolphins are smart, quick-witted animals. The presence of consciousness in them causes much less doubt among scientists. But recent research suggests the presence of consciousness even in those creatures whose consciousness people had never even thought about before.

Insects also have consciousness

Recently, scientists have been increasingly surprised by the behavior of bees and bumblebees. These insects have long been trained to perform certain actions for a reward. For example, scientists taught insects to play football. However, while working with bumblebees, it was discovered that these insects perform some actions without any reward, that is, simply for pleasure.

For example, as we told earlier, bumblebees love to ride on balls. There is no practical benefit from such actions. The insects are just having fun this way. Another recent study surprised scientists even more – bumblebees are able to use the so-called “collective intelligence”. That is, they are able to convey their personal experience to their other brothers. This study suggests that bumblebees who learned to solve a puzzle for a reward passed on their experience to other bumblebees, as a result of which they also learned to solve complex problems and get treats.

Insects also have consciousness. Bumblebees love to play with balls. Photo.

Bumblebees love to play with balls

It is very difficult to assess this behavior of insects unless they have consciousness. Therefore, scientists are inclined to think that they also have a mind.

Chephalopods have consciousness

Another creature that has recently often surprised scientists with its mental abilities is octopuses. They can quickly find a way out of complex mazes, figure out how to open a jar to get a treat, and even cooperate with other predators to get prey. Scientists have even discovered genes in their brains, the same as in humans, that may be responsible for their extreme intelligence. Some scientists consider octopuses to be the smartest animals in general.

Consciousness is cephalopods. Some scientists consider octopuses the smartest animals on earth. Photo.

Some scientists consider octopuses the smartest animals on earth

But it seems that octopuses aren't the only ones with intelligence. Previously, scientists also found that cuttlefish are able to remember what they see and smell. Cancers respond to anti-anxiety medications. Squids experience curiosity and boredom. Similar examples can be given for a long time. For example, crows generally have recursive thinking, which was considered unique to humans.

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Therefore, the adopted declaration of scientists states that it is irresponsible to ignore the presence of consciousness in animals when making decisions that affect them. “We must consider the risks associated with well-being and use evidence to inform our responses to these risks,” the researchers say. That is, in fact, scientists urge their colleagues to stop treating animals as unconscious beings, especially in their experiments and research. Obviously, this actually makes sense.