Creation: Animals that empathize

It is said that empathy — placing ourselves in another’s “shoes” and feeling what another feels — is what uniquely makes us human.

Indeed, even newborn babies display a primitive form of empathy when they cry, upon hearing another baby cry. Sociobiologists call that “global empathy.”

A defining attribute of psychopaths — as well as narcissists — is their lack of empathy, which explains their using others for their own ends and aggrandizement.

elephants

There is mounting evidence, however, that empathy is not so uniquely human after all. Instead, scientists are discovering that many animals also display empathy. As examples (source):

1. Elephants are known to return to the “graveyard” of a deceased elephant and caress the bones with their trunks. The latest discovery, reported by Discovery, is that Asian elephants show concern for another elephant that is distressed by making a soft, sweet “chirp” sound and caressing the suffering elephant with their trunks, even inserting the trunk into the other’s mouth.

2. Crows and ravens are highly intelligent birds. Researchers at the Konrad Lorenz Research Station in Austria found that the birds comfort others who are stressed from a fight by preening and sitting next to the distressed bird so their bodies are touching.

3. Scrub jays have “funerals” for deceased friends, according to research by the University of California, Davis. They fly over the dead body, wailing and screeching, which may be a sign of grief.

4. Mice have been shown to detect pain in other mice and will console their family and friends. Garet Lahvis, an assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University, said: “Mice are capable of a more complex form of empathy than we ever believed possible.”

5. Rats help each other out with no prospect of a reward, according to Washington State University. They also giggle when tickled.

6. Gorillas not only care for each other but have even been seen to care for dolls.

7. Orangutans are so empathic that they take on the moods of other orangutans, according to University of Portsmouth scientists.  When one orangutan laughs, others often join in.

See these other examples of animal empathy and kindness:

~Éowyn

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5 responses to “Creation: Animals that empathize

  1. GOD blessed us with all creation, and the animals are one of my favorite parts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know this to be true. Recently a black crow was evidently killed by touching a live electrical wire out by my driveway. I was in the house and heard this terrible ruckus. On investigation I found there were about 30-35 crows circling in the air giving out plaintive cries of distress. The dead crow was laying in the street. The crows kept this up for probably 15 minutes, and then they dispersed. I had never seen anything like this, but the birds were very upset by the death of the one. God’s creations are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. …. and Our dominion over the animals has been less then pleasing to God and the animals …. arrogant men call them dumb animals ….. look around see what we have created or better yet destroyed and you’ll come to see we are the dumb animal species with little empathy at the corporate and government levels …. you find pockets of empathy in the masses one on one or small groups but large groups of masses and there is not much empathy there either ….. like a pack mentality they quickly lean towards the out going personality’s in the masses and they can spoil the whole barrel of apples with one rotten one

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Sherlockian's Blog and commented:
    Empathy – something that many if not most humans do not have..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Liked by 1 person

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