One of my first memories of an animal knowing what I said occurred years ago during some hard times. I was young and shared a household with a few other people and animals. We had run short of money and were making due on a little less food than normal. All of us. One of the roommates got a job and with his first paycheck he bought a giant bag of kibble so all the dogs were served full bowls.
My dog at the time, Fiver, stuck his nose in his bowl to start eating, then stopped and came over to give me a lick. I said, “Don’t thank me, it was Mike”. Fiver, bypassing two other people immediately went over to Mike and gave him a lick. He then turned, went back to his bowl and finished up.
This article on chimpanzees having a sense of fair play brought up that vivid memory.
Chimps have the same sense of fairness as human beings, say researchers who played the Ultimatum game with them – the first time the trait’s been observed in a non-human species.
Chimpanzees are obviously very closely related to humans, but we often see, anecdotally anyway, this sense of fairness in other species too. I don’t like to see animals in laboratory research, but it would be cool have this proven once and for all!