I often wonder to what extent humans are impacting the evolution of animals. Not in the usual sense that is fashionable today — to focus on what man is destroying in previously fecund ecosystems — but in the sense of our intelligence rubbing off on our domesticated worker beasts and companions as well as on wild animals in our care in zoos and reserves. Accounting for historical adaptability of species, it stands to reason that animals are bound to change in some way due to their interaction with humankind. Has the partnership with men kicked equine evolution up a notch or two? Are dogs becoming smarter over the generations because of their special relationship with us? Do the emotions of pets emanate from mimicry, or have we simply underestimated the ability of animals to feel? Do animals in zoos actually assign a value to their captors/keepers/overlords/gods/enemies?
A chimpanzee in Sweden demonstrates the capacity to plan ahead by collecting stone weapons for later use against zoo visitors. He’s not just defending his turf, but he’s making advance preparations in support of the conceptual goal of defending his turf. That’s not something generally expected from a non-human.
As we gain more knowledge of animal psychology, and as animals evolve around us — and occasionally emulate us — we’re going to have to re-examine the current bright line between man and beast. It’s likely to have more colors than just light and dark.