I’ve always viewed flies as mindless beasts of burden, put mainly on this Earth to aggravate me and land all over my delicious food. I believe I’m still right about most of that, minus the whole mindless thing. Studies are now showing that fruit flies can indeed “think” before making decisions. This means the landing on your freshly grilled burger was not a random act, but a cold, calculated measure by a sentient annoyance plaguing the human race.

The New York Times reports that the human and fly mind share a common link in the FOXP gene. This gene in humans is closely linked to cognitive development and language, and is also linked to movements in the body and other actions that require a sequence of events. While it has not been proven, it is now believed that fruit flies may be able to process and act on information using the same method of thinking that we do.

The only way to really test the extent of the flies' reliance on this gene is to breed a fly with a defective FOXP gene. Humans with a defective FOXP gene often have trouble with motor skills and speaking abilities, so the scientists would observe the fly and see if it were capable of performing the same tasks with the absence of the genes as other flies. If it did happen to affect the fly, this could mean a lot more animals other than flies could possess the capacity for intelligence. Could this change the way we treat species in the future?

For flies? No, not a chance in my book. The fact that these flies are smart enough to know what they are doing when they buzz incessantly around my face and become a general nuisance makes me hate them that much more! I don’t care if they can think, I’ll take them out all the same when I see them. You’re not so smart when you’re all squished out on the edge of a newspaper, are you, fly? No, no you’re not. Wait, does that make me a mindless barbarian?

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