I am therefore I think. Because I think, justice should also be extended to me?

Justice for All Sentient Beings?

Most of us will agree that we should not be cruel to animals but treat them nicely. We have animal welfare laws in place, for example, and pet owners will testify that their animals—often considered members of the family—have personalities and feelings. It is also widely accepted that a number of wild animals possess considerable intelligence and social skills, such as primates, marine animals, and some birds, to name a few.

social sharks
Research has begun to challenge the long-standing perception of sharks as solitary hunters, revealing instead a complex social structure that requires a high level of cognitive function.

Sharks as social and sentient beings

Recent scientific research has begun to challenge the long-standing perception of sharks as solitary hunters. Rather, it reveals their complex social structure that is borne out of a high level of cognitive function.

In fact, these studies suggest that sharks possess a level of social intelligence, problem-solving skills and even emotional intelligence that far surpass previous beliefs, offering a fresh perspective on their behaviour and potential sentience.

Giant Pacific Octopus - photo by Andrey Bizyukin
Giant Pacific Octopus interact with divers

Do octopuses have an emotional life?

Octopuses have intrigued scientists for years, because they have both long- and short-term memory, they remember solutions to problems, and they can go on to solve the same or similar problems. They have been known to climb aboard fishing boats and open holds in search of crabs. They can figure out mazes, open jars, and break out of their aquariums in search of food.

Some sharks are smart cookies

Researching the intelligence of the grey bamboo shark a team of researchers at Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University in Bonn, Germany showed that sharks could be trained to recognise and remember shapes for an extended period of time.

First juvenile sharks were subjected to three different cognition experiments, one at a time, and then tested to see how long the sharks could remember their training.

Cognition in Sharks

A difficulty in obtaining information about wild animal behaviour is that detailed observations of different individuals is necessary over long periods of time, and this is especially hard to achieve with sharks. But in the shallow lagoons of French Polynesia, such observation was possible without the encumbrance of scuba gear, and without the problem of the shark disappearing into the depths.

Deep Trust In Sharks

Jim Abernethy, owner and operator of Scuba Adventures, was the dive operator who showed all of the others that sharks are peaceful animals who want nothing to do with humans as a food source.

He spends most of his time with wild sharks during dives from his liveaboard ship, The Shear Water, at remote sites in the vicinity of the Bahamas, and is on land for only about 40 days a year.

Does this whale talk?

Excerpts from Current Biology, Volume 22, Issue 20, R860-R861, 23 October 2012

The whale lived among a group of dolphins and socialized with two female white whales. The whale was exposed to speech not only from humans at the surface -- it was present at times when divers used surface-to-diver communication equipment.