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Animals Can Think And Feel Complex Emotions According To Author Carl Safina.

In his new book, Beyond Words:What Animals Think and Feel, Carl Safina explores the minds of animals. "I’ve always been touched by their bonds and been impressed—occasionally frightened—by their emotions."

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Animals actually have a lot of the same thought processes that we have.


"We talk about conservation of animals by numbers, but those are just numbers. Watching animals my whole life I've always been struck by how similar to us they are."

They can feel empathy. It isn't just a human emotion.


"Many people think that empathy is a special emotion only humans show. But many animals express empathy for each other. There are documented stories of elephants finding people who were lost."

For example, there was the time that elephants guarded an old woman from hyenas.


"In one case, an old woman who couldn't see well, got lost and was found the next day with elephants guarding her. They had encased her in sort of a cage of branches to protect her from hyenas."

Or when a humpback whale saved a seal from killer whales.


"People have also seen humpback whales help seals being hunted by killer whales. There is a documented account of a humpback sweeping a seal on its back out of the water, away from the killer whales."

There are reasons that people refuse to believe animals can think and feel.


"in laboratories the dogma persists: don't assume that animals think and have emotions–and many scientists insist that they do not."

"Other people do not want animals to be conscious because it makes it easier for us to do things to animals that would be hard to do if we knew they were unhappy and suffering."

Animals respond to the world just like we do.


"If you watch mammals or even birds, you will see how they respond to the world. They play. They act frightened when there's danger. They relax when things are good."

Animals have different personalities. Just like some of us are introverts and some are extroverts.


"Many researchers have names for the animals and recognize the different personalities. Some are bold; some are shy. Some are more aggressive; some are mellower; some babies are much more assertive."

Animals feel a certain way about how to handle situations.


"They see that some wolves are very assertive and aggressive and other wolves forbear. If there is a fight, some wolves will kill other wolves, but other wolves won't, even when they beat them in a fight."

But, most people just base their thoughts on casual sightings. And that isn't enough. What if we did the same for humans?


"If you saw human beings doing nothing but drinking water or running around a field, would you think that is all there is to human beings? If you know the people drinking the water or running around, you have a different experience watching them."

Now, Carl Safina has two dogs of his own and he notices the way they think and feel.


"I have two dogs now and I cannot believe how much I love these dogs and how much they are part of our family."

"They know exactly who we are. They know who strangers are. They are often very, very happy. Occasionally they get frightened by things that are strange or they aren't sure what's going on."

They can't speak our language but they are still great at communicating with him.


"The only thing they cannot do is speak to us in full sentences, but they communicate all the time. They know what they would like to do and they can plan a little bit. They may not plan what they're gonna do next week, but they know when they want to go out or when they want to get us to take them out for a run."

They also can remember things, such as specific places.


"When we take them to a certain beach, they know exactly what the routine there is, even if we haven't been to that beach in months. When we take them over to my mother's, they remember that the shed in her backyard has cottontail rabbits under it and they always run straight to the shed to investigate."

Honestly, they may be way smarter than anyone actually knows. There is still a lot of time to learn from them if we just take the time to.


"I've studied wild animals a lot and I'm always struck by how extremely alert they are and how well they sense what's going on around them. They're much more aware, compared to humans."

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