Posts Tagged ‘Empathy’

Chimps Not So Selfish: Comforting Behavior May Well Be Expression Of Empathy

June 19, 2008

Compared to their sex-mad, peace-loving bonobo counterparts, chimpanzees are often seen as a scheming, war-mongering, and selfish species. As both apes are allegedly our closest relatives, together they are often depicted as representing the two extremes of human behaviour.

Orlaith Fraser, who will receive her PhD from LJMU’s School of Biological Sciences in July 2008, has conducted research that shows chimpanzee behaviour is not as clear cut as previously thought. Her study is the first one to demonstrate the effects of consolation amongst chimpanzees.

In her recently published article, Fraser analyses how the apes behave after a fight. Working with Dr Daniel Stahl of Kings College London and Filippo Aureli, LJMU’s Professor of Animal Behaviour, she found that third-party chimpanzees will try to console the ‘victim’ of the fight by grooming, hugging and kissing.

Click here for the full article.

If we could talk to the animals, would they empathize?

March 4, 2008

Marc Bekoff, professor of Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is in Australia to give a series of public talks on the emotional lives of animals.

Bekoff says scientists have moved on from the presumption that the way animals act is the result of programmed behaviour.

“It’s not a question of if they have emotions but why they have evolved,” he says.

Animals also have personalities, he says.

Bekoff says research has shown that elephants can experience grief, mice feel empathy, rats get excited about playing with a friend, sharks get mad and koalas have likes and dislikes.

Crocodile mums care for their kids, squid can be shy, fish can have addictive personalities and even coyotes get the blues.

“There are shy animals, bold animals, risk-takers … some animals wake up in the morning depressed and some wake up raring to go,” he says.

Bekoff says there is even evidence that animals possess a morality and have a unique “point of view on the world”, he says.

Click here for the full article.

For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at www.thecapstone.ua.edu, Sunday nights 8-10 central.