Can Any Animals Use Reason?

All animals must learn to do some things. This is true even of those animals that function almost entirely by Instinct. But the process of learning is not always the same. In many cases when we think an animal is learning “learning” something, all that is really happening is that an instinct it was born with is developing or ripening. For example, birds fly rather clumsily when they first leave the nest.

Their “learning” to fly is really the gradual development of their instinct. The most common way in which animals learn, in the true sense of learning, is by making mistakes and remembering to avoid them in the future.This is the way dogs learn to “behave”, or to do tricks, and the way horses are broken in and trained. Animals very seldom learn by imitating.

If one dogs knows a certain trick, another dog cannot learn that same trick by watching the first and imitating it. Then what about using reason? This means finding a solution to a problem or difficultly which they do not know how to solve from some inborn instinct. Experiments have shown that apes and monkeys are able to reason to a certain extent.

In one experiment, a monkey was brought into a room where a banana was hanging that it could not reach. There were two small boxes. Then it suddenly got up, placed one box on top of the other, climbed up and got the banana! The monkey had actually thought out how to do it had used reason.

Scientists believe that dogs, cats and even some wild animals can probably reason to a certain extent, but it is hard to prove this is so.

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