As Oxford University zoologist Alex Kacelnik and colleagues noted in a 2012 Biology Lettersreflection on empathy research, some ants display helping behaviors similar to Mason and Ben-Ami Bartal’s rats. “Any solid evidence for empathy in non-humans would be a notable advance,” they wrote, “but, in our view, it remains unproven outside humans.”
Other researchers defended the possibility of rat empathy.
“Ants are not rats,”quipped Frans de Waal, an Emory University ethologist who has written extensively about empathy, on Facebook. “It would be totally surprising, from a Darwinian perspective, if humans had empathy and other mammals totally lacked it.” As for Mason and Ben-Ami Bartal, they’ve downplayed the empathy interpretation in their latest work, restricting it to speculative discussion.
we think of this oft-reviled creature, and maybe even ourselves.
Interspecies interactions are all over YouTube. Yes, they’re cute, but are they useful to scientists?
Among other things, researchers say, the alliances could add to an understanding of how species communicate, what propels certain animals to connect across species lines and the degree to which some animals can adopt the behaviors of other species.
“There’s no question that studying these relationships can give you some insight into the factors that go into normal relationships,” said Gordon Burghardt, a professor in the departments of psychology and ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Tennessee, who added that one video he liked to show students was of a small and persistent tortoise tussling over a ball with a Jack Russell terrier.
If you like starling murmurations you'll get a mental orgasm with this stunning video filmed by Alpacamedia in Utretch, Netherlands. Just sit back, take it to full screen, hit play, and the rest of the world will fade away while you watch thousands of birds dance to a mysterious silent song.
(ANIMAL TESTING/ANIMAL RIGHTS) CHINA — After two long years of lobbying from Humane Society International's Be-Cruelty Free Chinafo campaign, animal testing for certain cosmetics will no longer be a requirement in the country.
Researchers from the University of St Andrews and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, showed chimpanzees learn kindness by watching each otherClaim it's the first evidence children and chimps share traits of altruismIn the experiment, pairs of chimps, monkeys, children and adults chose whether or not to reward each other with treatsStudy found that adults did but monkeys and young children didn'tChildren and chimps learned kind behaviour off more generous individuals ...Monkey see, monkey don't: The study revealed that capuchin monkeys (stock image shown) and young children didn’t display any prosocial traits in certain situations. But some children who failed to display kindness, showed generous behaviour after watching other kinder children. By SARAH GRIFFITHS
Wolves are at least as tolerant and socially attentive as dogs.
Dogs are man's best friend and partner. The origins of this dog-human relationship were subject of a study by behavioural scientists from the Messerli Research Institute at the Vetmeduni Vienna and the Wolf Science Center. They showed that the ancestors of dogs, the wolves, are at least as attentive to members of their species and to humans as dogs are. This social skill did not emerge during domestication, as has been suggested previously, but was already present in wolves.
Via Jocelyn Stoller
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