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But does animal intelligence constitute a soul? Does a pet’s emotions and ability to relate to human beings mean that animals possess an immortal spirit that will survive after death? Theologians say no. They point out that man was created superior to animals and that animals can’t be equal with him. Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Genesis 1:26, NIV) Most interpreters of the Bible assume that man’s likeness to God and animals’ subservience to man implies that animals may have the "breath of life," nephesh in Hebrew, but not an immortal soul in the same sense as man’s.
A male chimpanzee in a Swedish zoo planned hundreds of stone-throwing attacks on zoo visitors, according to researchers. Keepers at Furuvik Zoo found that the chimp collected and stored stones that he would later use as missiles. Further, the chimp learned to recognise how and when parts of his concrete enclosure could be pulled apart to fashion further projectiles.
'Armed' chimps go wild for honey
The team said some chimps would also use a "toolkit" of different wooden implements in a bid to access the honey and satisfy their sweet tooth. The study is published in the International Journal of Primatology. Crickette Sanz, from the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, said: "The nutritional returns don't seem to be that great. "But their excitement when they've succeeded is incredible, you can see how much they are enjoying tasting the honey."
Clever rooks repeat ancient fable
The team says the study shows rooks are innovative tool-users, even though they do not use tools in the wild. Another paper, published in the journal Plos One, shows that New Caledonian crows - which like rooks, are a member of the corvid group, along with ravens, jackdaws, magpies and jays - can use three tools in succession to reach a treat.
Professor Marian Dawkins of Oxford University has called the study of animal sentience "one of the most exciting and the most important in the whole of biology."
In 1997 the concept of animal sentience was written into the basic law of the European Union. The legally-binding Protocol annexed to the Treaty of Amsterdam recognises that animals are ‘sentient beings’, and requires the EU and its Member States to ‘pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals.’ The laws of several states include certain invertebrates such as cephalopods (octopuses, squids) and decapod crustaceans (lobsters, crabs) in the scope of animal protection laws, implying that these animals are also judged to be capable of experiencing pain and suffering.