my mind was wandering this evening, it landed on animals behaviors.
What are the things that we do or think that they don't?
...is not one of them obviously.
Though people think a dog's growling is a sign of aggression, it is more of a warning. They are feeling fear or uncertainty about something or someone and are warning it/them to stay away. A dog that doesn't growl ever is normally more dangerous simply because it doesn't warn before it strikes out. Barking has recently been attributed as a pack-oriented speech which says "I'm alone and there's another dog around. This isn't natural and we should be near each other for protection." That sort of explains why little dogs bark all the freaking time incessantly. Howling seems to be a word for "I'm injured or my pack-mate (human or otherwise) is injured, come help!" Cool.
Birds obviously communicate by their songs. Sea-mammals seem to have very complex languages... probably due to their brain-power alone. Moths... though at a very rudimentary level, speak by scent, sometimes over miles of distance.
That's an obvious one for anyone who has a dog or has seen the result of (again) a penguin whose egg has frozen.
Sex for fun:
...is not one of them.
Some primates are very promiscuous and have sex a lot with many partners for what seems like recreation. Dolphins appear to do the same thing. I don't know of any others, but there's two.
...is not one of them.
Generally bird species are more or less monogamous, penguins especially. Most birds are only seasonally so, but penguins can live an entirely monogamous life, unlike many humans I know.
These aside, there are some things we do that no other animal, despite its brain size or apparent intelligence, does.
Art is the biggest.
What other species appreciates art or any aesthetics for that matter? We have seen none and even those who have the know-how and the creativity of thought to try to find it have failed to do so. What purpose does art serve other than to be pleasing and why is it pleasing? The only apparent other reason for art is the other main behavior that humans seem to have exclusively:
Though it is hard to test this sort of thing since we can't read the minds of animals, introspection is something humans have in AMPLE supply. We spend huge amounts of time simply re-evaluating our lives, our behaviors, our morals, our beliefs, and all that we value in general. Our culture, our art, our relationships, our philosophies, and our religions are the result. Many, including myself, would go so far as to include self-awareness in this list as this trait leads to all the prior ones mentioned. Humans have a sense of eternity and immortality. We are basically incapable of imagining ourselves ceasing to exist. It is unfathomable to an ...unmedicated (read uninhibited) mind. None of these things appear in other species. We can at least feel special in these.
If we ever encounter " ♫ intelligent life somewhere out in space ♫ " the first thing I'd want to experience would be their art and philosophy. It'd be a real trip.
meh. Who cares what I think?