Entertaining Q&A on the big question…”what is the present?” on Cecil Adams’ website.
Extract from Cecil’s answer:
Animals generally react via instinct. After some experience they can develop behaviors — recognizing a person, playing fetch — that seem to indicate they remember prior experiences. But that’s a long way from recalling specifics of the past. While it’s obviously very difficult to tell what goes on in, e.g., a cat’s brain (it appears to usually be some variant of “F*ck you”), humans, as far as we know, are the only animals able to retain literally useless information — knowing the state capitals or the lyrics to “Shake It Off” can’t confer much survival advantage.
Full post here.