Animals Are Just like Us, Claim Scientists; They Make Friends and Share the Same Emotions as Humans

Article excerpt

Byline: BY DEBORAH JAMES

SCIENTISTS have discovered animals may experience many of the same emotions as people in everyday life and may even develop friendships within their social groups, and seek revenge.

Researchers in Liverpool found the ability to form social groups, to protect one another, and defend weaker animals from aggressive group members are common traits in humans and animals.

They also found primates react to the environment around them, responding emotionally to others' actions and becoming anxious in times of danger.

Dr Filippo Aureli, reader in Animal Behaviour at John Moores University studied the "self-touching" movements of chimpanzees and spider monkeys, like scratching and grooming, to get an insight into their emotions.

He found definite behavioural similarities in emotional expression between animals and humans, which have a marked effect on behaviour.

But Dr Aureli, who is also co-director of the Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, admitted scientists may never fully know how animals really feel emotionally.

He said: "Recent research has shown that there is an increase in this type of (self touching) behaviour in situations of uncertainty, social tension, or impending danger.

"The same can be shown in humans who may bite their nails or pull at their hair in times of anxiety."

He said individual primates such as chimpanzees and monkeys behaved in different ways depending on circumstance and group members they interacted with.

Animals can also have close bonds with one another - for example, primates who spend more time in close proximity will generally be friendlier and less aggressive with each other. …