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Do Animals Have Memories of Tomorrow?

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As humans, we can reminisce about our past and plan our long-term futures, and the two are intimately linked. In this talk I will touch on two important issues; why this ability to travel backwards and forwards in our minds is an important part of our normal daily lives and why loss of it can be so devastating, and whether this ability is unique to humans. The traditional view is that only humans can remember their past and plan for tomorrow, and consequently all other animals live in the eternal present. I shall challenge this hypothesis and show that, surprisingly, some of the most convincing evidence comes not from our closest relatives, the monkeys and apes, but from a surprisingly smart, large-brained bird, the scrub-jay.

This talk is part of the Danby Society series.

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