The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $2.1 million grant over five years for a research project titled, “Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think.”

The research project is designed to study how animals think and to promote “the evolutionary link between animals and humans,” as well as animal welfare “in the wild and in our homes,” according to the award abstract on the NSF Web site.

The New York Hall of Science, the Institute for Learning Innovation, Hunter College of the City University of New York, and a consortium of five regional science center/zoo partnerships received $2,131,193 in funding, which began Sept. 1, 2009 and continues until Aug. 31, 2013.