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Humans aren’t the only animals that dream



July 20, 2024

  • Humans are not the only animals that dream.
  • Many animals, including mammals and some birds, have been found to exhibit behaviors and brain activity patterns that suggest they experience some form of dreaming.
  • Some of the most compelling evidence for dreaming in animals comes from studies of mammals like rats and cats.
  • Researchers have observed rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in these animals, which is a sleep stage associated with vivid dreaming in humans.
  • During REM sleep, the brain is highly active, and the eyes move rapidly beneath closed eyelids.
  • In some cases, researchers have even recorded neural activity patterns in these animals that resemble the patterns seen in humans during dreaming.
  • Other animals known to experience REM sleep and potentially dream-like states include dogs, dolphins, and certain primates.
  • For example, dogs often exhibit muscle twitches and vocalizations during REM sleep, which may indicate dream activity.
  • While we can’t directly ask animals about their dreams, the evidence from their behavior and brain activity strongly suggests that they do experience some form of dreaming.
  • However, the content and nature of these dreams remain the subject of scientific investigation and speculation.