What Darwin Never Knew

While I was watching “What Darwin Never Knew,” I became very interested in what makes us human and sets us apart from the other animals. Some of the key differences that were mentioned in the video are a desire for justice even if it doesn’t directly relate to us, the ability to create music and art, an understanding of math and science (if I remember correctly) and the practice of religion. I find it fascinating that we can share so many physical traits with animals—even gills in a manner of speaking. I never knew that! —and yet have such vastly different brains.

I am really curious about what animals think of some of the strange things we do, specifically anything related to the arts and music. For example, my pet dog responds every time I play the piano by coming into the room and lying down to listen. He gets up and leaves if I play certain styles of music, and also has favorite composers (we share a love of Chopin, if anyone is interested.) I understand how a dog, with his sensitive ears, would find some notes painful to listen to, but how can he enjoy my other music if he doesn’t understand it to some extent? If animals can understand music, can they register anything more than the most basic information about visual art? How much do they comprehend of all the other apparently “human” things?

I don’t know much about how non-human creatures think, although I know they act mostly on instinct. It’s definitely something I’ll be checking out in the future. I think humans are really special creatures and I am also a huge animal lover, so I would love to compare how their very different types of brains work.

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