Do wild animals have emotions?


| 6 Comments
This is a question that leaves many wondering whether what they are seeing from their household pets is actually emotions. Often we see a dog wagging their tail or barking excitedly, but did living and being raised by humans cause this?  According to Animal Planet, scientists believe that animal's actions are because they are trying to tell us something, such as a dog eating a shoe, which may mean that he/she is lonely while being home alone.  Many people still do not buy the emotions card.  I think a good question to factor in is do wild animals have emotions?  This is because many people could say that household animals have emotions because their owners have instilled them into the pet.  A popular emotion seen in humans is mourning.  I have decided to research the topic to see if wild animals are known to mourn over loss of habitat or even another dead animal.  I found that according to the Botswana Wildlife Guide elephants have been known to "mourn over a dead member of their species".  It also explained that elephants will "touch and scent a carcass - and even old bones".  I find this a bit similar to the funerals that humans attend when a friend or family member passes away, praying and remembering the good times with a dead body in the room.  It even goes as far as when the friends and family members of the passed pray over the casket of the deceased.  This topic is hard to experiment, unless someone is willing to expose a wild animal to a dead member of their species, which I consider very cruel.  Many scientists study this subject through observation of the species on their own, mourning the loss of an animal who had passed due to nature in their natural habitat.  Other animals stated to have been observed in the Wildlife Guide by scientists include lions, buffalo, zebras, and baboons.  All of these animals had different ways of mourning, but all showed the same emotion.  "A baboon mother carried her dead baby for days".  "Zebras reacting to a deformed newborn foal".  One scientist even observed a male buffalo, "mount a near-to-death adversary that had been mauled by lions".  This evidence shows that while household pets may be known to have more easily recognized emotions due to living directly with humans, wild animals also have emotions, but are acted out in different ways.

Works Cited: http://animal.discovery.com/animal-facts/animals-have-emotions.htm

http://www.botswana.co.za/Botswana_Wildlife_Behaviour-travel/emotions.html


6 Comments

While reading your post the only thing I kept thinking about was Dolphins and how they are claimed to be self aware! Many people say that Dolphins have many features abut them that are almost "human like". I cannot think of a better example of animals having "emotions" than Dolphins. Dolphins are said to understand complex vocabulary and now marine biologists are saying they can understand syntax as well. In simpler terms this means that they can understand basic rules of word order! They can slightly understand the basics for sentence formation! How cool is that? Dolphins are very complex animals and they know more than we think. For more information check out http://www.npr.org/2011/11/04/142024616/a-researcher-asks-are-dolphins-self-aware . Very interesting post!

After reading this article I decided to do some research on turtles. Commonly known for being slow, and sometimes boring, turtles actually have emotions. Although a regular person wouldn't know it, turtles can experience grief. In the article from the Deseret News, Turtle's emotions not so cold-blooded, Sharon Randell discusses how a turtle named Herb is suffering from a broken heart. For the first time in a New York City aquarium, Herb met another turtle named Archie. One day, the aquarium workers noticed only 1 turtle in their designated area so they decided to suit up and go look into the water. Under the water the workers noticed something to be off, "Repair work on the tank had loosened a grate that proved irresistible to the turtles. A time-lapse video shows how they moved the grate with their flippers, then wedged themselves into the opening. Herb escaped. Archie didn't." Turtle CPR was done on Archie but he didn't make it. After a couple days they noticed Herb stopped eating and was a lot of the time found at the bottom of the tank where he last saw Archie. Although Herb is now back to his normal self, the aquarium workers still sense that Herb misses his old pal Archie sometimes. This goes to show that animals do in fact have emotions. Although they may not be aware to everyone, they are definitely apparent.

I loved this blog post! I just got home from school on Sunday afternoon, and my dog went absolutely crazy. Considering she barks at any non-family member, I really believe that she knows who lives with her and has strong feelings towards us. This obviously could be because we're the ones who take care of her.

Since animals, especially wild animals, have no way of really communicating effectively with humans, it's difficult to understand what might be happening in their brains. This article shows a couple different ways animals show their emotions in their own natural ways. http://www.cracked.com/article_20141_5-mind-blowing-ways-animals-display-human-emotions.html

Kerri, this is very interesting. I was actually considering writing an article on this topic. However, what my question was, was "Do animals 'talk' to each other?". What I learned is although they do not have complex words, as we do, they do evoke different yelps or barks. The sounds can represent different types of emotions. For example, while one bark might mean, "I'm hungry!", another might mean "I'm happy!". You can learn more here: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/onlinestuff/snot/can_animals_talk_and_what_do_they_say.aspx

Cara, I completely agree! I have always wanted to swim with the dolphins on vacations my family and I have gone on because of that very fact! Dolphins are very interesting animals with so many emotions. Last summer I was surfing and was actually sitting on my board near a group of dolphins that were swimming by. I think it's really interesting that as human beings we are not afraid of dolphins because of all the positive emotions that they portray!

Kaitlyn, I find that really interesting! When thinking about animals with emotions I think we all immediately go towards dogs or dolphins, but no one ever thinks of turtles! I find it really cool that all animals do have emotions they just show them in different ways!

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