Well, some chimpanzees have become spear hunters and cn be taught very complex procedures, even in cooperation with each other.
I look at all animals, including people, as likely all having somewhat similar reasoning capabilities and consciousness. The differences just depend on necessity to require reason for the animal’s apparent survival and physiological constraints that limit how long the animal has to attempt thought processes.
I’ve seen many documentaries that show how non-human animals lack the supposed quality of self-realization or awareness and so some conclude that these animals are somehow either less conscious or not conscious at all. One experiment the use to test this is the mirror experiment. If the animal is capable of self-recognition, for example, the animal would learn to be able to determine certain truths about itself. For instance, a human baby eventually learns to recognize that you covertly places something on them that they can infer by looking in the mirror. Although they have claimed through these experiments that this has not occurred with most animals, I discovered by accident that this was wrong.
I had a unique situation that those experiments seemed to lack. I had adopted a deaf albino white cat. I taught her to read hand signs to communicate and she picked up fairly easily. Then while playing with her in front of mirrors, she easily learned to use it to determine where I or something else was in relation to her reflected image. I’ve tested this by playing with her. It was clear that she knew where I was in relation to it and her because she would respond to things like me playing with her. And since she knew the mirror’s use, she would sometimes like to continue to play by strictly choosing to use it rather than direct observation.
I had an ant problem one summer in my place. They discovered my open topped sugar container on a counter that I’d kept there regularly by the coffee pot. They were coming from under my stove at some crack in the foundation or wall. I moved the container to a cupboard just above that area but they rediscovered it soon and continued.
I didn’t have anything to kill them off. I wasn’t really concerned about eradicating them altogether either. I cleaned everything up with various things like vinegar (they don’t seem to like) and added using a de-calcifying general purpose cleaner on the floor areas. This ‘erased’ their chemical tracking trails and disoriented the next phase of ants coming from under the stove. I also killed many ants directly in doing all this. But instead of simply washing away the dead ants from cleaning, I placed many of the dead ones where they were coming in as they seemed to reclaim them and take them back to their nesting home. Then, just as a trial, I placed a line of vegetable oil around the front of the stove.
In order for them to attempt to refind their sugar source, they would be forced to cross that barrier. Only a few seemed to attempt it before they communicated it to the rest of their ‘group’ and thought of something clever. They brought up pieces of dirt from a distance to build a bridge across the oil line at one spot.
I don’t know why I decided what I did next…I think I was just intrigued at watching them work. But I decided to give them a small sample pile of sugar to those that made the bridge crossing. I even tried to give some of them individually a grain. I would also pick up some and let them walk all over me, and then let them go on without killing them.
This isn’t properly scientific but for whatever reason, it appeared that they respected me from then on. I even cleaned up the oil line and after that they would be very discreet about invading my sugar. I would still find one or two at the sugar container, but they didn’t send large troops to get it. It seemed as though somehow I communicated with them. Ever since, I don’t have an ant problem.