The researchers found no definitive evidence for foresighted behavior in animals. In order to answer the question if animals are capable of mental time travel, the researchers relied on published experimental studies and matched the results with their own model. Some animals indeed appear to possess episodic memory.

There is, however, no evidence that they are able to construct, reflect and compare different future scenarios like humans are. We, therefore, do not believe that animals are capable of mental time travel," said one of the researchers Sen Cheng, professor at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany.

For example, the ability of squirrels to cache food in autumn for the winter can be interpreted not as an anticipatory activity, but rather as innate behavior, the researchers said.

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