Is lying just a human trait or do animals lie, too? Many people believe animals don't lie, that they're immune to such human failings. However, many studies show that animals do indeed lie. In fact, lying appears to be a sign of intelligence. Therefore, the more intelligent the animal, the more likely it is to lie.
Take for example Koko the Gorilla. When her handlers confronted her after she tore a steel sink out of its mooring, she signed "cat did it" and pointed at her innocent pet kitten.
Perhaps the Koko example lends credence to the idea that lying comes with language. The more elaborate the language, the more elaborate the lying. Koko has learned to sign over 1000 words. The more words she knows, the easier it is for her to lie. Perhaps all animals have within them the tendency to deceive, but only with language is that tendency able to fully blossom.
Still, it doesn't mean that animals without complex language abilities don't bluff or lie. In a 1995 issue of the Journal of Theoretical Biology, a University of Rochester biologist Eldridge Adams published the results of research that show that animals of the same species bluff to get what they want. Specifically, he showed that a species of crustacean called Gonodactylus bredini have the ability to bluff stronger opponents into giving up a fight.
Many animals and insects have an inborn ability to camouflage themselves in order to hide from prey. Camouflage is a form of deception. It isn't in an animal's best interest to draw attention to itself. The more it blends, the longer it lives.
Is it possible that deception is not only a natural instinct of all living creatures, but that it is absolutely essential to survival? After all, those who lie (whether they be human or otherwise), often do so for their own gain - to avoid punishment, embarrassment, or harm.
The better a creature is at lying, bluffing, and deceiving, the more likely it is to survive in this world. Lying is all about deceiving predators and surviving - whether it is an insect changing its colors or a human lying to a boss who might fire him and take away his income and means of survival.
Could one reason that humans have evolved as much as we have be precisely this - that we are the world's best tricksters and liars? Does mastering the art of deceit mean mastering the world?
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