The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy — and Why They Matter

The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy — and Why They Matter

Marc Bekoff

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 1577316290

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Based on award-winning scientist Marc Bekoff’s years studying social communication in a wide range of species, this important book shows that animals have rich emotional lives. Bekoff skillfully blends extraordinary stories of animal joy, empathy, grief, embarrassment, anger, and love with the latest scientific research confirming the existence of emotions that common sense and experience have long implied. Filled with Bekoff’s light humor and touching stories, The Emotional Lives of Animals is a clarion call for reassessing both how we view animals and how we treat them.

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faces are nonetheless important for inferring what others are feeling and for predicting what they’re likely to do in the future. Researchers have found that mammals share a great number of facial expressions, which makes it possible to infer what a monkey is feeling in the same way we can we see what an actress in a silent movie is expressing. We clearly can read the facial expressions of dogs and their wild relatives — submissive grimaces, toothy growls, open-mouth play pants — in a wide

food, the same chair, and the same bed. Then, when he was eighty years old, Marty’s father committed suicide. Soon after family, friends, and the police left his house, Pepsi ran downstairs to the spot in the basement where Marty’s father had died and stood as rigid as a statue. When Marty picked Pepsi up, the dog went from rigid to limp in his arms and emitted a painful moan. Marty put him in his father’s bed and Pepsi immediately fell asleep. Marty later found out from his mother that Pepsi

own moral behavior. 83 CHAPTER  Wild Justice, Empathy, and Fair Play: Finding Honor among Beasts Those communities which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members would flourish best and rear the greatest number of offspring. — CHARLES DARWIN, THE DESCENT OF MAN AND SELECTION IN RELATION TO SEX I ’ve long been interested in play behavior. This might sound like a frivolous field of study — a number of my colleagues certainly told me so when I first started — but

creatures feel threatened by the possibility of morality in animals, since it seems to threaten the special and unique status of humans. This idea that humans are the most virtuous creatures usually comes from religion, so to say animals can be moral is sometimes perceived as a threat against some deeply held religious beliefs. But it’s not. This isn’t an either-or situation: either humans are special or no one is special. Both can be true: humans have ethics and spiritual awareness, and animals

emotions, so it’s doubtful they do. But in truth, we just don’t know. One day, perhaps we ’ll figure out a way to determine this. More important, however, would it make a difference to us if they did? It should, just as it should make a difference to us that other animals have emotions. Knowing that animals feel — and being able to understand them when they express joy, grief, jealousy, and anger — allows us to connect with them and also to consider their points of view when we interact with

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