Many animals can become mentally ill, but I could not find any account of animals showing schizophrenia, not even apes. I could only find this, but it seems very vague.

Is there any evolutionary explanation of why only humans have schizophrenia?

  • $\begingroup$ Makes me wander how would you verify the animal has halucinations, delusions or disorganized thoughts. $\endgroup$
    – BagiM
    Mar 22, 2021 at 12:00
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    $\begingroup$ @BagiM - You don't need to ask a Great Ape (or a mouse) if they're having hallucinations. If schizophrenia is genetic and the sites responsible for it are known, we need only to sequence DNA to know. If it is morphologic, we need only to do histological studies. And yes, both of these types of studies have been done on humans and great apes, looking specifically at schizophrenia as a uniquely human disease. I an not a neuroscientist, so will not comment on the findings, as they are kinda beyond my ability to judge competently. But a neuroscientist should be able to answer. $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2021 at 18:11
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    $\begingroup$ I really like this question (so +1), but I’m voting to close it because it might be a better fit on Psychology & Neuroscience.SE $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2021 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse: Re "If schizophrenia is genetic...", but is it purely genetic? Or is it a case of the genetic variants being necessary but not sufficient? In the same way that having certain genetic variants predisposes one to various cancers, but doesn't guarantee that you're going develop that cancer. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Mar 23, 2021 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf - (I hope you know what I'm going to respond...) Schizoprenia, like most mental illnesses showing a genetic component, is very likely multifactorial, with different factors having different weights/influences on expression. I do believe that the genetic component(s) is/are heavily weighted. My comment was to someone who doubted on the basis of asking an animal questions. A nuanced response would be kinda inappropriate to that user. I was pointing out that there is more to science than asking an animal if it's having, say, flight of ideas, or if their cat is giving them commands. $\endgroup$ Mar 23, 2021 at 21:06


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