It's not just humans who feel love

There is a trope among ethologists (animal behaviorists) that animals or non-human creatures (as if human beings are not part of the “animal” kingdom!) operate simply by instinct and so, they do not have “higher-level” emotions such as love and loss, or abstract moral principles such as justice. Much of those convictions stems from our inability to communicate with them, not being conversant in their languages.
Increasingly, however, studies are showing those notions to be wrong.
Elephants return to the “graveyards” — places in which their family members had died — and use their tusks to caress the bones of their lost ones. How is that behavior not a sign of mourning and grief?
Chimps show they have a sense of justice — about fairness. They are disgruntled when another chimp receives preferential treatment — getting a better reward for performing the same job.
And as for love, defined as ” an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment,” non-human creatures show in their behavior every indication that they do love. Not only that, their love spans some of the range we accord to humans — from the sexual love of eros, to the familial love between parent and child and among siblings, to the platonic love between even inter-species friends. As you can see in these lovely pictures:

Familial love

love5love6love7love12love9love11

Friendship

love13love14love16love1love3love8love10love15
There is one profound difference between humans and other animals.
As St. Bonaventure once observed: Non-human animals are creatures without sin.
H/t FOTM’s Ken L.
~Eowyn

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Desiree Young
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Desiree Young

– Dez 🙂

greengirl
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greengirl

beautiful……

Southerncharm23
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I have a mini farm. I have a jenny (Jenny), a cow named Daisy and goats. When Daisy’s hubby of 21 years died a few years ago, they all gathered around and stood around the grave until we lowered my bull into the ground. When we started covering him up, they walked off as if they had paid their last respects as we human’s do. Same thing happens when we have an animal to die and we bury it in the pasture. These animals are lots smarter than we think.

DCG
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Sweet!

Crustacean
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Crustacean

Aw, I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff. Thanks, Dr. E!!

Amy
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Amy

Lovely. There are several stories of dolphins protecting humans from shark attacks by circling the person when the shark is nearby. Dolphins are part of the animal kingdom that feel love and protective instincts.

max
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max

Animals are awesome, I wish we didnt eat them as much

joandarc
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joandarc

Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this wonderful post! I love the pictures! St. Francis of Assisi saw God in nature wherein his observations of nature, of animals and birds, brought about his reconversion. I do not know what I would do without my fur and feather children and my little turtle. I have experienced tremendous love and loyalty from them.