A new declaration spotlights animal consciousness

A new declaration, signed by dozens of biologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers, points to a “realistic possibility” of consciousness in reptiles, amphibians, fishes, certain mollusks, crustaceans, and insects. The New York Declaration on Animal Consciousness was unveiled April 19 at New York University.

The declaration reads, in part: “The empirical evidence indicates at least a realistic possibility of conscious experience in all vertebrates (including all reptiles, amphibians and fishes) and many invertebrates (including, at minimum, cephalopod mollusks, decapod crustaceans and insects).” Inspired by recent research findings that describe complex cognitive behaviors in these and other animals, the document represents a new consensus and suggests that researchers may have overestimated the degree of neural complexity required for consciousness.

Read the full article on Quanta.

A bumble bee on top of a pink flower.