Tag Archives: lions

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

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Friendship

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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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