Here’s something we missed about the uniqueness of human beings. In July the Francis Crick Memorial Conference, at Cambridge University, decided that we aren’t as exceptional as we once believed. At the conference a group of people, mostly experimental neuroscientists, tried to put to rest preconceived notions of human exceptionalism. They issued a manifesto, the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals. It states:
“The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”
This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge.org under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.