Can a dog feel insulted? Can a rat be helpful? Or can an elephant show understanding? Can animals experience complex emotions such as empathy, altruism, fairness and justice? How Animals Feel investigates this question.
It is widely known that animals exhibit intelligence. Primary emotions, such as joy and grief also exist in the animal world. In Tai National Park, deep in the rainforests of Ivory Coast, a young chimp has lost its mother. Leopards have taken her. Now the young chimp is on its own.Will another mother from the group it had been living with look after the creature? At the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, behavioral scientists are evaluating the animals’ reactions. It cannot be taken for granted that animals will look after the offspring of others, if they are not genetically related.
At Emory University in Atlanta, primatologist Frans de Waal is researching whether animals are fair and how they cooperate with one another. For him, it is clear: “If an individual behaves egoistically, then it will have difficulties in future. Egotism just does not pay in the long run.” He is testing their willingness to cooperate with the “string pulling test” where animals are only rewarded with food, if they work together. For elephants and chimpanzees passing this test is a breeze. And even ravens and wolves master this assignment.
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