Regulars on this blog will know that I am a big supporter of the notion that what makes language unique is the “speech triangle,” whose corners are (A) speaker, (B) listener, and (C) neutral topic. The speaker and listener engage injoint attention to a neutral topic. So naturally I was quite interested when I learned of a paper published last year that might challenge this claim. David A. Leavens and Timothy P. Racine published “Joint Attention in Apes and Humans: Are Humans Unique?” in an issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies devoted largely to narratives and theory of mind. Their paper (abstract here ) was a rebuttal to the proposition that joint attention requires a theory of mind. I have not placed much importance on a theory of mind in this blog, but their points are a serious enough challenge to this blog’s long interest in joint attention that honesty requires I present their case.