Information

Do birds grieve and feel emotion?


Crows are surprisingly clever with tool making/use and even understanding displacement water over sand! Clearly there's some relatively high level cognitive processes going on up in those avian brains.

When I stumbled across a video of what appears to be a bird grieving over its mate (shown in clip below), I wondered how far animal emotion and psychology goes.

  • Is that bird in the video grieving? (and shaking because of stress?)
  • What species of bird is this?

Your "grieving bird" is a video of a peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) and its (nearly?) dead chick on a hot summer day in Phoenix, Arizona (USA) in 2016.

Photo credit: Arizona Game And Fish Department

The video is from a nest camera webcam set up in the Maricopa County building in Phoenix, Arizona by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.(See this video for more information). The camera was active in 2016, but according to here the falcons did not return to the nest in 2017. Your video shows one of the adult birds with the only chick that hatched (out of 4 eggs) in 2016. That chick died from a combination of heat and an 8-story fall in June 2016 [Source]. Your video is an edited and audioless version of a video capture of the live stream that can be seen on Youtube. The information for this video indicates that the adult bird in view is the father.

The adult falcon in the video is not wimpering, crying, or grieving. Instead, the bird is trying to cool down on a hot day. He is displaying a familiar temperature regulatory behavior: panting.

From Bartholomew et al. (1968):

Most birds pant when subjected to heat stress…

In fact, in the more complete video I link to above (with audio), you can clearly hear the bird making panting sounds while breathing heavily. The falcon also spreads out its wings to better help cool himself down toward the end of the video as it cares to its injured chick.

You can see another video of a panting falcon in New Hampshire (USA) here, and you can find more information about panting, gular fluttering, and other thermoregulatory behaviors in birds here, here, and here.


Most animals have some shared reactions to anti-stress drugs and painkillers, for example it has been proven that lobsters react to the same painkillers as humans in response to stimuli.

Birds are much closer and have a lot of shared characteristics with humans, fear, heart rate changes, adrenaline, stress. There are many studies about general stress, for example: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/06/06/1706164114

That doesn't mean that birds form strong bonds with their children. Penguins have been observed to nurse and prod frozen babies to try to revive them. Complex social emotions have not been strongly proven with most animals, mostly primates, dogs, elephants. Parrot owners will tell you that paired parrots often mourn, lose appetite and die, after their partner dies. They also try to defend their babies with agression. So we can't rule out that birds have parasympathetic nervous reactions similar to our own. humans bite their nails, birds pluck their feathers! https://www.thesprucepets.com/do-birds-get-depressed-390405

You should check this TED talk, about animal psychology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wkdH_wluhw


There seems to be a long folk tradition that birds do grieve:

“All the birds of the air fell

a-sighing and a-sobbing

when they heard the bell toll

for poor Cock Robin”

See the Wikipedia article on Cock Robin.


Do birds grieve and feel emotion? - Biology

" Funeral preplanning removed the worry of leaving behind a financial burden'"

3 Animals that Have Funerals to Grieve for the Dead

If you have ever experienced the death of a loved one, then you understand the feeling of grief that falls over you when it happens. The moment when you first hear, and your brain takes a minute– or 20– or a month– or a year– to fully comprehend it. The moment when you realize that that person is gone forever.

We aren’t the only ones: animals feel grief too. This notion will come as no surprise to pet owners and wildlife lovers out there, but many animals will fall silent to mourn or remember the life of one of their own. Animals that have funerals take it one step further and seem to make “rituals” out of their grieving. Call it anthropomorphism if you want, but either way, watching these animals mourn hits close to home.

3. Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees are some of our closest related relatives, so it might not come as a shock that they have similar emotions to our own. But to what extent?

Take the case of Dorothy, an elderly chimp of 30 years who died at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Centre in eastern Cameroon. Workers at the center knew Dorothy was a “prominent figure” in her family of 25 chimps, but they were not prepared for what happened as they took Dorothy to her final resting place.

The family of chimps lined up along the perimeter of the enclosure, watching in quiet contemplation as Dorothy was wheeled past them and buried. They placed their hands on one another’s shoulders, perhaps mourning, perhaps comforting one another, and watched in complete silence, a rare occurrence for these usually loud and boisterous animals.

Monica Szczupider, who took the photo, had this to say: “This is a funeral shot. We were burying Dorothy. We brought her in the wheelbarrow to let the others see.

“It was unbelievably emotional. We were all struck. Even the employees, all of whom grew up as villagers potentially eating apes, before they were a delicacy, were emotional.

“I think every last one of us was silenced by their silence.”

Video is here, but be sure to have some tissues on hand: Chimpanzee Funeral: Warning- May Cause Tears

2. Elephants

If you really knew how smart, sensitive, and creative these animals are you’d be amazed. Honestly, elephants do it all. They live in societies with their own cultures, self-medicate with plants, protect people and other animals in trouble, and PAINT. Paint! Really? …Anyone else a little disheartened that their artistic talent will never match up to an elephant’s?

Elephants have such intense social groups that they become extremely upset when one of their own dies. Of all animal grieving and funeral rituals, there is none as well documented or well known as the elephant’s.

Upon seeing the bones or carcass of another elephant, a family will stop and investigate them, even if the elephant was unrelated to the group. The ritual includes touching the bones gently with their trunks while remaining very quiet, covering the body with leaves and grass, and if the elephant belonged to their own, staying with the body for days or weeks at a time.

Elephant researcher Martin Meredith had this story to tell: ”The entire family of a dead matriarch, including her young calf, were all gently touching her body with their trunks, trying to lift her. The elephant herd were all rumbling loudly. The calf was observed to be weeping and made sounds that sounded like a scream, but then the entire herd fell incredibly silent. They then began to throw leaves and dirt over the body and broke off tree branches to cover her. They spent the next two days quietly standing over her body. They sometimes had to leave to get water or food, but they would always return.”

Elephants are such compassionate animals that they’ll even grieve for and bury their number one killers… us. A news report in Kenya told of an elephant that trampled a human mother and her child and then stopped to bury them before disappearing in the bush.

Fact is, it’s pretty obvious to see that elephants mourn for their dead and would be at least somewhat emotionally compromised when we go around slaughtering entire herds… Take out your “save the elephant” banners.

These little birds aren’t exactly what we picture in our heads when we think of intelligence, but they’re thought to be some of the most intelligent of all animals, even recognizing themselves in the mirror test (and the only non-mammal to do so).

But their intelligence goes much farther than just self-awareness. Magpies, like other birds such as ravens and chickens,are surprisingly empathetic to others of their kind. Once in a while they’ll be seen engaging in elaborate social rituals that drive scientists and researchers crazy with interest.

Dr. Bekoff of the University of Colorado has studied these rituals and concluded that magpies both “feel grief and hold funerals.” He studied four magpies that took interest in a magpie corpse and recorded their behavior.

“One approached the corpse, gently pecked at it, just as an elephant would nose the carcass of another elephant, and stepped back. Another magpie did the same thing,” he read.

“Next, one of the magpies flew off, brought back some grass and laid it by the corpse. Another magpie did the same. Then all four stood vigil for a few seconds and one by one flew off.”

“We can’t know what they were actually thinking or feeling, but reading their action there’s no reason not to believe these birds were saying a magpie farewell to their friend,” he wrote in the journal Emotion, Space and Society.


Do birds grieve and feel emotion? - Biology

Scientists are uncovering evidence that humans are not the only animals that mourn their dead

After her calf died on a Kenyan savanna, this Rothschild&rsquos giraffe stood vigil by the body, lingering for days without eating or drinking. &ldquoShe was just standing guard over her dead baby,&rdquo says the biologist who observed and photographed the animal.

ON A CRISP SUMMER AFTERNOON in 2010, Robin Baird was conducting research off Washington&rsquos San Juan Island when he and colleagues from NOAA Fisheries spotted a Southern Resident killer whale behaving strangely. Usually, these endangered mammals are highly social they work together to find schools of salmon, communicating by sound that can travel for miles. They even share their catch to ensure everyone has enough. But this whale, a 24-year-old female, was alone with her 6-year-old son and not foraging. In her mouth she carried a dead newborn.

Baird, a biologist at the nonprofit Cascadia Research Collective, followed the whale with his colleagues for more than six hours. Sometimes they would lose sight of her as she plunged into the opaque green waters of Haro Strait. Then she would emerge with the body riding in her mouth or atop her head. Occasionally she&rsquod lose it and would double back to retrieve it. Though Baird lacked genetic evidence, the adult&rsquos distended genitals and teats suggested that the carcass was her calf, which either was stillborn or had died shortly after birth.

Researchers have reported similar sightings of cetaceans carrying remains of their young. They do not know why. &ldquoIf we want to be sure, we will have to interview them directly,&rdquo quips Italian biologist Melissa Reggente, who chronicled 14 such observations involving seven species in a 2016 article in the Journal of Mammalogy. But she, Baird and some of their colleagues are floating one intriguing possibility: These intelligent, gregarious animals are mourning.

&ldquoI&rsquove spent much of my career studying long-lived social mammals, where group behaviors are critical for their survival,&rdquo says Baird. &ldquoThere&rsquos no doubt in my mind that these animals have strong bonds with other individuals. In cases like that&mdashthe behavior of animals toward the premature death of their own offspring&mdashit would be hard for me to imagine that it could be anything other than exhibiting grief.&rdquo

For those who consider awareness of mortality a uniquely human trait, the idea that other animals pine for the dead might be hard to imagine. Indeed, some scientists remain skeptical. But a growing number are challenging our species&rsquo monopoly on grief. They&rsquove identified mourninglike behaviors not just in cetaceans, but in elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees and other primates and, possibly, turtles, bison and birds.

In Kenya&rsquos Maasai Mara, an African elephant calf gently touches the skull of a dead adult. While most animals&mdasheven species thought to mourn&mdashlose interest in a body after it decomposes, elephants famously pay homage to the bones of their kin. For two days, a western lowland gorilla (below) cradled and groomed her stillborn infant. &ldquoShe tried to revive it, but she couldn&rsquot,&rdquo says photographer Anup Shah. He and Fiona Rogers spent weeks documenting this gorilla&rsquos family in the Central African Republic.

Rich emotional lives

&ldquoThe lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness and misery,&rdquo Charles Darwin wrote in 1871. &ldquoSo intense is the grief of female monkeys for the loss of their young, that it invariably caused the death of certain kinds.&rdquo

Darwin&rsquos view&mdashthat species beyond humans have rich emotional lives&mdashdid not evolve into scientific consensus. &ldquoIn the 20th century, the predominant paradigm was human exceptionalism, the idea that animals are pretty robotic,&rdquo says Barbara J. King, emerita professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary and author of the 2013 book How Animals Grieve, a comprehensive synthesis of animal mourning research. &ldquoThe thinking was that animals live in the present they&rsquore solving their problems for survival they don&rsquot feel a whole a lot.&rdquo

There were exceptions to this view. In 1972, the late Yale University biologist and anthropologist Ursula Moser Cowgill reported that two small captive primates called pottos, whom she described as &ldquodepressed,&rdquo set aside food for a dead companion even at the risk of starving themselves. Around the same time, in Tanzania, Jane Goodall observed how a young chimpanzee called Flint stopped eating and grew gaunt and lethargic after his mother Flo&rsquos death. He died a month later. &ldquoHis whole world had revolved around Flo,&rdquo the primatologist wrote, &ldquoand with her gone, life was hollow and meaningless.&rdquo

Even today, many researchers stay away from the language of emotion. &ldquo&lsquoGrieving&rsquo is a word that is perceived as illegal among scientists,&rdquo says biologist Giovanni Bearzi, president of Dolphin Biology and Conservation, a nonprofit research organization based in Italy. &ldquoOur capability of understanding what happens from an animal&rsquos standpoint is pretty limited.&rdquo

Some scientists question whether a creature can mourn without a notion of mortality. &ldquoYou have to understand &lsquoI am alive&rsquo to understand that someone is dead,&rdquo says Alex Piel, a primate biologist at England&rsquos Liverpool John Moores University. &ldquoThat&rsquos where we run into problems: Most animals, as far as we know, don&rsquot have consciousness.&rdquo

That argument exasperates Carl Safina, an ecologist at Stony Brook University and author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. &ldquoThere are many animals who, in an operative sense, understand death,&rdquo he says&mdashfor example, predators who must understand the difference between alive and dead when they kill their food. Besides, he says, &ldquohumans have many concepts of mortality&mdashkarmic wheels, eternal life and so on&mdashmost of which conflict, which indicates most of them are wrong.&rdquo Yet we all grieve.

King says that over the past few years animal-grief research has &ldquoexploded&rdquo&mdashpart of a larger &ldquoanimal turn&rdquo among academics who advocate broadening the range of lives and cultures that are studied. Technology has helped, too, including remote monitoring cameras at wildlife sanctuaries. &ldquoWe have access to behaviors that we didn&rsquot before,&rdquo Piel says. In this changing climate, more scientists are publicly making the case for animal grief.

Nudging a dead female, a male Burchell&rsquos zebra is &ldquotrying to wake her up,&rdquo suggests photographer Christophe Courteau. While scientists have not documented grieving in zebras, the number of such examples is growing.

Upsurge of science

Zoe Muller, a University of Bristol wildlife biologist who founded the Rothschild&rsquos Giraffe Project in Kenya, recalls a morning in 2010 when she came upon 17 female giraffes running haphazardly and looking distressed in a part of the savanna they don&rsquot normally frequent. It turned out an injured calf had died, and the adults had gathered with its mother. They stayed with her for two days, frequently nudging the dead animal with their muzzles.

On the third morning, Muller returned. The mother appeared to be alone, standing alert in the shade of an acacia tree. On closer inspection, the biologist realized that hyenas had moved and fed on the calf&rsquos carcass. &ldquoThe mother was still standing over the body,&rdquo she recalls, &ldquoeven though it was half-eaten.&rdquo Though giraffes feed almost constantly, &ldquoshe wasn&rsquot eating. She wasn&rsquot drinking. She was just standing guard over her dead baby.&rdquo

Muller interpreted the giraffe&rsquos behavior as grief. At the time, though, she was reluctant to say so publicly, knowing that &ldquosome scientists are very strict about not anthropomorphizing.&rdquo Since then, &ldquomy personal stance has changed. I would now be a lot more open about acknowledging nonhuman grief. Giraffes, humans, we&rsquore all mammals. Our system of emotion is largely driven by hormones, and hormones are likely to have evolved similarly in all mammals.&rdquo

One way to study grief, then, is to measure changes in hormone levels of survivors. That&rsquos what behavioral ecologist Anne Engh realized when she was studying chacma baboons in Botswana&rsquos Okavango Delta. One of those baboons, an older, high-ranking female called Sylvia, had earned the nickname Queen of Mean. &ldquoShe went out of her way to be obnoxious to the other females,&rdquo says Engh, who now works at Kalamazoo College. &ldquoShe would threaten somebody just because they&rsquore there, and because she could.&rdquo

Sylvia did have one steady companion: her adult daughter Sierra. The duo spent most of their free time together, grooming each other and handling each other&rsquos babies. One day, while Engh was present, lions attacked members of the group as they foraged for tubers in an area of tall grass. Sierra was killed, as was a male with whom she had been consorting. Afterward, Sylvia spent a lot of time alone, staring at her feet. &ldquoIf she had been a human,&rdquo the ecologist says, &ldquoI absolutely would have said she was depressed.&rdquo

That led Engh to review hormonal data on Sylvia and other female baboons that had lost close female relatives&mdashdata her team had routinely collected using fecal samples for about a year. What she discovered, and reported in 2006 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was that even a month after the deaths, females showed significant increases in stress hormones called glucocorticoids. After two months, the levels returned to normal.

Chacma baboons groom one another more often after the death of a companion, a behavior that lowers stress hormone levels.

Grooming and grief

Engh also discovered that, after their losses, the baboons groomed more frequently and with more partners. (Physical contact stimulates release of the hormone oxytocin, which inhibits glucocorticoid release.) &ldquoIt seemed like they were actively trying to form new friendships,&rdquo she says.

That&rsquos what Sylvia did: After her daughter died, she diversified her own grooming network. &ldquoIn particular, she focused on a fairly low-ranking female who also didn&rsquot seem to have a close friend at that time. &ldquoThis is a female that she would have absolutely ignored before,&rdquo Engh says. &ldquoAnd along with that, her glucocorticoid levels decreased.&rdquo

Is it grief? &ldquoI still hesitate a little bit to say,&rdquo Engh says. &ldquoBut you find something similar in humans. If women who lose spouses have support from close female friends, they do have increased glucocorticoid levels, but not as high as females who are more socially isolated. So, there is probably a parallel.&rdquo

Not every species lends itself to this type of quantitative research, so the question might ultimately remain unsettled. Still, it fascinates. In 2016, Bearzi was with a group of students from Texas A&M University in Greece&rsquos Gulf of Corinth when they spotted an adult striped dolphin circling a dead adolescent and struggling to keep it afloat. &ldquoThere was a sense of protecting and trying to resuscitate the animal,&rdquo he says&mdash &ldquoas if to say, &lsquoCome on. Let&rsquos swim together. Let&rsquos go back to the group.&rsquo&rdquo

In moments like this, how do we know what&rsquos really going on? Measuring stress hormones or brain activity might yield valuable data, Bearzi says. &ldquoBut most of the time it is not possible, and I am not advocating that more invasive research be done on grieving cetaceans.&rdquo One alternative, he suggests, might be using underwater microphones to record changes in acoustic behavior.

What Bearzi most remembers from that afternoon in Greece was how visceral everyone&rsquos reaction was. The students had not been trained to think about animal emotions, he says. Yet they described their observations in the language of psychic pain. &ldquoIt&rsquos becoming exhausted,&rdquo one of the students narrated on camera. &ldquoIt&rsquos putting itself in danger. Self-preservation seems to have momentarily left because it is grieving for its loved one.&rdquo

Bearzi had a similar reaction. &ldquoAs a human being, I can easily relate to animals&rsquo suffering because another animal died,&rdquo he says. &ldquoAnd maybe it is not so complicated. Maybe it does have to do with the kind of grieving that we humans feel. It may not be exactly the same, but it looks like it is related.&rdquo

An adult striped dolphin of unknown sex attends a dead adolescent female in the Gulf of Corinth, Greece, seemingly trying to keep it afloat.

North Carolina journalist Barry Yeoman wrote about the risks of nonnative landscaping plants in the April&ndashMay 2017 issue.


What animals can teach us about ourselves

As de Waal explores human and non-human emotional territory, he finds considerable common ground. Bonobo babies who are orphaned and raised without maternal love suffer just as human babies do when similarly deprived. Orphaned bonobos have trouble regulating their emotions, whereas bonobos who grow up with maternal affection learn how to weather upheaval. And, just like humans, bonobos who haven’t been nurtured also have trouble comforting others who are in distress.

Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves (W. W. Norton & Company, 2019, 336 pages)

“For me,” de Waal writes, “the question has never been whether animals have emotions, but how science could have overlooked them for so long.”

Just as de Waal’s book makes readers more attuned to the emotional life of animals, it gives us more than enough to ponder about our own human emotions.

As de Waal compares human behavior to our closest relatives’, he finds much to observe and report. The human smile, for instance, may be linked to the nervous grin found in other primates. “I seriously doubt that the smile is our species’s ‘happy’ face, as is often stated in books about human emotions,” he writes. “Its background is much richer, with meanings other than cheeriness.” Instead, a smile could mean nervousness, a desire to please, amusement, or attraction.

Additionally, we humans “often wear plastic smiles with no deep meaning whatsoever.” How do you tell which is which? Studies by 19th-century French neurologist Duchenne de Boulogne identified two kinds of human smiles: The genuine version, an expression of positive feelings and joy, is known as the “Duchenne smile” and involves not only lifting the mouth corners and pulling back the lips, but pulling back the muscles around the eyes, resulting in narrowed eyes and wrinkled surrounding skin. A “fake” smile involves the mouth area but not the eyes—a useful distinction to know!

In considering current events, the author identifies two driving forces behind human politics: leaders’ lust for power and followers’ longing for leadership. De Waal observes that hierarchical battles occur in groups of humans as well as in groups of apes, with bullying tactics used by “alpha males” in both. “Like most primates, we are a hierarchical species,” he concludes.

Yet humans shrink from admitting that about themselves, he points out, preferring to describe themselves in gentler, more rarified terms. De Waal writes, “This is why it is so refreshing to work with chimpanzees: They are the honest politicians we all long for.”

Instead of considering ourselves so refined and rational, he suggests, it’s time for us to squarely face the degree to which we—like other animals—are driven by emotions.


How Animals Grieve

Prologue: On Grief and Love

"In this deeply moving and beautifully composed treatise that is sure to anger some, but inspire many, Barbara King methodically presents her powerful evidence that many animals possess thoughts, feelings and emotions, including the profound sense of loss following the death of a family member or close companion. Consider, for example, the female dolphin who carries her dead calf for several days, loath to part with her beloved child. What else is she doing but grieving? It might be a controversial, minority viewpoint that some animals mourn the death of others, but King’s profound and well-documented work has left me firmly in her camp."

"Humans and other animals experience love and fear, and form deep emotional bonds with cherished companions. We mourn when a close friend dies, and so do other animals, as Barbara King’s poignant book illustrates in compelling detail. How Animals Grieve helps us to connect and to better understand the complex social lives of other animals and of ourselves."


Inter-species mourning

There are also cases of animals grieving for members of other species. Take, for example, "Muschi" the cat and "Mäuschen" the Asiatic black bear. The pair became inseparable at Berlin Zoo - and when the bear died, the cat refused to leave her companion's enclosure. She stayed there, meowing mournfully.

Mourning rituals in the animal kingdom


Pictures Showing Animals Different Emotions

Showing Mouth


Smiling



Staring Animal


Showing Their Tongue

Father lion Roars on his son

Kissing Animal

Staring With Anger

Monkeys Showing love Each Other By Touching

Annoying Puppy

When Baby Look His Mom

Animals Feels Lazy

Surprised Look

Feeling Fear

Trusting on his mom

Crying Elephant Baby

Showing Confused

Kelly

I'm a blogger who loves to write about pets. I like to try new products, find cute pictures of them and share them with people.


Private minds

One problem that plagues studies of animal emotions and cognition is that others' minds are private entities (for detailed discussion of what the privacy of other minds entails, see Allen and Bekoff 1997, p. 52ff). Thus, humans do not have direct access to the minds of other individuals, including other humans.

While it is true that it is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to know all there is to know about the personal or subjective states of other individuals, this does not mean that systematic studies of behavior and neurobiology cannot be undertaken that help us learn more about others' minds. These include comparative and evolutionary analyses ( Allen and Bekoff 1997, Bekoff and Allen 1997). Nonetheless, with respect to emotions, there seem to be no avenues of inquiry or scientific data strong enough to convince some skeptics that other animals possess more than some basic primary emotions. Even if future research were to demonstrate that similar (or analogous) areas of a chimpanzee's or dog's brain showed the same activity as a human brain when a person reports that they are happy or sad, some skeptics hold tightly to the view that it is impossible to know what individuals are truly feeling, and that therefore these studies are fruitless. They claim that just because an animal acts “as if” they are happy or sad, humans cannot say more than merely “as if,” and such “as if” statements provide insufficient evidence. The renowned evolutionary biologist, George Williams (1992, p. 4) claimed: “I am inclined merely to delete it [the mental realm] from biological explanation, because it is an entirely private phenomenon, and biology must deal with the publicly demonstrable.” (See also Williams 1997 for a stronger dismissal of the possibility of learning about mental phenomena from biological research.)

Nonetheless, many people, including researchers studying animal emotions, are of the opinion that humans cannot be the only animals that experience emotions ( Bekoff 2000). Indeed, it is unlikely that secondary emotions evolved only in humans with no precursors in other animals. Poole (1998), who has studied elephants for many years, notes (p. 90): “While I feel confident that elephants feel some emotions that we do not, and vice versa, I also believe that we experience many emotions in common.”

It is very difficult to deny categorically that no other animals enjoy themselves when playing, are happy when reuniting, or become sad over the loss of a close friend. Consider wolves when they reunite, their tails wagging loosely to and fro and individuals whining and jumping about. Consider also elephants reuniting in a greeting celebration, flapping their ears and spinning about and emitting a vocalization known as a “greeting rumble.” Likewise, think about what animals are feeling when they remove themselves from their social group at the death of a friend, sulk, stop eating, and die. Comparative, evolutionary, and interdisciplinary research can shed much light on the nature and taxonomic distribution of animal emotions.


Do Animals Feel?

Interesting article at New Scientist about whether or not animals have emotions. Marc Bekoff, professor of biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, writes about animals and their possible feelings. He gives examples of several emotions he claims to have seen / heard animals feeling, such as empathy, grief, gratitude, and love.

Those of us who share our lives with animals would surely be able to come up with our own examples Emma seems to be grateful when I clean her litterbox, and it is conceivable that Boomer stayed alive with a huge tumor as long as he did out of love for me. But I also hear Ray Coppinger in my head scoffing at this notion.

Following his examples of animal emotions, Bekoff does an nice job of arguing the case for and against animal emotions.

FOR
". it is bad biology to argue that humans are the only emotional beings. Emotions serve as a 'social glue' to bond individuals with one another and to catalyse and regulate their social encounters.
.
"A decade ago, neurobiologists identified specific nerve cells that are associated with empathy - the bedrock of social emotions. These so-called mirror neurons have been identified in non-human primates, and it is likely that they exist in humans and other mammals, and perhaps even in birds."

. transition discourse on anthropomorphising .
". careful anthropomorphism is not a way of foisting human attributes onto animals, but rather a means of identifying commonalities and then using human language to communicate what we observe."

AGAINST
"if unchecked, [anthropomorphism] leads to a complete absence of scientific rigour in the way we look at animals. Using anecdotes as data only makes matters worse, because this allows anyone to speculate on what a given animal is experiencing, without any standard for what counts as evidence."

Bekoff concludes by urging for scientific, evidence-based analysis of what it's like to be a cat, dog, bird, horse, or your animal of choice. A little anthropomorphism is good too much is unscientifc.

Can't wait to read more about animal emotions!

For More Info
* Bekoff, Marc. "Are You Feeling What I'm Feeling?" New Scientist, 194: May 26, 2007, pp. 42-47. Full-text available in LexisNexis & possible on ScienceDirect.


JAAS cover

Far from being an audit of such bodily skills and energies, the essays in this special issue argue against the facile binary notions of inner life versus social life, between mind and body, and between the private and public. These skills and energies are not “natural” like breathing. Rather, they are social because they become audible, palpable, visible, and palatable in relation to structured relations of power and historical unfoldings. In other words, Filipino bodily energies from affect to feelings are conditioned not by idiosyncratic personal quirks but by the forces of history, culture, and social hierarchies. Therefore, these bodily energies are part and parcel of world making and world imaginings.

Sara Ahmed, in her book The Cultural Politics of Emotion, astutely notes that such bodily energies are “points of entry,” not static states of being as they “move, stick and slide” across various spheres and realms of social life. 1 Feelings and emotions circulate and are the passageways and vessels for the flow of capital and the buttressing of the nation. They are not “internal” or inside the body. Neither are they contained by biochemical drifts and organ function but can be instruments of oppression by much larger systems such as the state and the private corporation. They form part of the grit that causes frictive relationships between family, region, nation, and the globe. As such, emotions and feelings bypass or transgress the very borders they themselves have created.

For example, “care” in the Filipino case takes on a rarefied air of “national character.” Movies, government training programs, slogans, and other cultural genres have produced and disseminated the figure of the “caring Filipino” who is fit and ready for the global service market and corporeally predisposed to serve and be servile. Care uncritically becomes a mark not only of being “human” but of being Filipino. It morphs from being a bodily skill and intensity into an essentializing notion of a nation and a people that is complicit with the workings of late capital. Care is a neoliberal idiom that gets embodied in the day-to-day struggles of Filipino migrant workers who are employed as nannies, maids, drivers, bellhops, cooks, and so on. 2 As the primary labor broker, the Philippines state functions not only as a mediating agent but also as a disciplinary conduit that devices, inculcates, disseminates, and manages the emotional scripts necessary for Filipino migrant labor to be marketable and valued. 3 Such scripts involve the disciplining or “professionalization” of bodies to specific forms of composures and habits most especially around the arena of work. Therefore, care is a central “proper” emotion that constitutes these scripts underwritten by the Philippine state and the global service industry, and performed by migrant workers on multiple stages across the diaspora.

Emotions and feelings do not just emanate or are produced by biological entities called humans but can also be constituted by material objects and discourses. One needs only to see how a newspaper account, an image on a laptop screen, a tune from the latest pop song, or the smell of flowers can invoke and provoke multiple movements of intensities that make up and conjure various atmospheres. Emotions, feelings, and the senses are the building blocks of social time and space. Therefore, in order to adequately understand the spatial and temporal politics of Filipinos today, one needs to be “attuned” to the moods and “weight” of places and events or how our surroundings impinge on our bodies.

Bodily knowledge is crucial in critically apprehending Filipino experiences today. Consider how Balikbayan boxes from the diasporic elsewhere or packets of sinigang broth from the Philippines can propel or set in motion various ways of acting and being in the world such as being wistful, despondent, hopeful, exuberant, and/or dejected. Such ways of being and acting can be potentially useful pivots in negotiating through the power inequalities and enliven struggles for survival.

The essays in the special issue go beyond the vernacular and conservative meanings of emotions, feelings, and the senses by promoting the ways in which these bodily skills, knowledge, and intensities are not mere reactive impulses that remain within the sphere of the feeling subject or agent. The essays focus on what emotions and feeling “do” and not just merely describing what they “are” beyond being enablers of systemic complicity or propping up the very social order that is meant to oppress them. To put it another way, emotions are neither always passive responses nor just “barriers” or baggage that promote inaction but are or can potentially become “weapons of the weak.” Emotions and feelings are part and parcel of doing or making politics, the struggle for survival, claims of citizenship and of imagining and longing for a world that is not here yet.

As a way to complicate our idea of feelings and emotions, let us go back to the idea of care that has been appropriated by the state and the transnational service industry. Despite the Philippine state’s draconian scripting, care is never pure or unalloyed. In my own studies, care has provided the means for migrant labor to think coalitionally as a collective force to champion their own rights as workers. My own ethnographic interviews among Filipino migrants have shown how the idiom of care has been reconfigured to move away from being a stand-in for docile professionalism to framing and invigorating organizing efforts toward change. Feelings and emotions such as care can trigger and initiate rejection of or surrender to the world at hand. In sum, emotions and feelings either can be used for the maintenance of an unjust status or can form the seeds for resistance and possible social transformation. Despite their conservative deployments by the Philippine state and the service industry, feelings, emotions, and the senses in the Filipino contexts are crucial bodily skills, intensities, and energies that may open up new ways of imagining possible futures, just worlds, and alternative plots of being, living, and surviving as a Filipino in a global world.

Martin F. Manalansan IV is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies and a Conrad Professorial Humanities Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


Watch the video: Παπαγάλος μιλάει τραγουδάει χορεύει. Parrot sings and dances in Greek (January 2022).