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Nature & Environment

Animals can tell right from wrong

By T.K. Randall
May 25, 2009 · Comment icon 43 comments

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A controversial new book has suggested that animals possess a sense of morality and are able to tell right from wrong in the same way that humans can with their own moral code of conduct.
Animals possess a sense of morality that allows them to tell the difference between right and wrong, according to a controversial new book."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (43)

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Comment icon #34 Posted by Mattshark 15 years ago
The dolphin is becoming more human. Humans have invaded their territory and even have used sonar against them. Hasn't the US Navy trained dolphins for use in warfare? How do they find oil under the ocean surface? What is the HAARP Project used for in terms of detection of submarines or the layout of the bottom? We confuse the animals by our sound devices. But, as has been pointed out, we are animals too and guess what? The same thing is happening with us. Erm that is simply natural social behaviour in bottlenose dolphins. They (and for that matter any other species of dolphin) are not be comin... [More]
Comment icon #35 Posted by Michelle 15 years ago
OK, in one aspect I think animals can tell right from wrong. It's like when you get home and the dog in the house has torn up every cushion on the couch into little two inch pieces. That dog will hide the minute he hears the car in the driveway and won't come out until he hears the storm blow over.
Comment icon #36 Posted by Lt_Ripley 15 years ago
Cats dont tend to like staring, its a sign of dominance, you're exerting your position by staring them in the eyes. Domestic cats will usually be fine with it, they'll look away and ignore you... but id imagine in the wild they'd try to exert their own dominance, perhaps by attacking. Rival cats will have staring contests to resolve conflicts rather than actually fight. Funny thing, ignoring a cat usually encourages it to come to you... people allergic to cats find this happens a lot... if they intentionally try to ignore the cat, look away from it... the cat will often go up to them specifica... [More]
Comment icon #37 Posted by MoonRiver 15 years ago
That is survival instinct, it has nothing to do with morality. Dolphins? The animals that gang rapes (species of victim is not important), kills smaller dolphin for fun and commits infanticide? Huh, the funny thing is that we could be talking about humans here. And just as not all humans do that, most likely not all dolphins do that either. Humans are neither all good nor all bad as a society, and its stands that dolphins are the same. The point the article was trying to make was that these wild animals helped other animals and even other species when it was *not* a matter of survival, and whe... [More]
Comment icon #38 Posted by MoonRiver 15 years ago
No, that's a challenge. Cats, like many other animals (including humans) use staring as an intimidation technique. If you stare at your cat for any reason, they take this as an impolite gesture and a challenge. If you don't back down then they will attack you, or if they have respect for you then they will back down first. Never. Ever. Stare at your cat if you have a smidgen of respect for them. Ever. LOL, I have to disagree with my two cats. I wouldn't say they stare, it's more like gaze. Phoebe will look at me and purr until she falls asleep standing up... Fairuza just looks at me and I like... [More]
Comment icon #39 Posted by Rhincewind 15 years ago
part of me wants to say that they can tell right from wrong. My dogs knows when he is in trouble and also when I am upset. My guinea pigs know when they have upset a fellow cage mate and show submission to them. (the rabbit does the same with me) but the number of times my guinea pig has pooped in his bowl in the morning with out consideration for the others who eat out of it does make me laugh. Overall I think animals can tell right from wrong.
Comment icon #40 Posted by greggK 15 years ago
I think there is something to that ! even from a distance ! Me and my cat , who'll be sitting in the kitchen about 10 feet away will stare at each other . And when I blink kinda fast she comes running with a little mew out of her ! playful.or I'll stare at her and mouth the words I love you without making a sound and she'll mew and come a running ! or she'll lay next to me at night , tilt her head up and stare at me , eye to eye . very happy on her part . If she could talk she'd probably have alot to say. seeing how she never does anything wrong............really she never has. but the dog ? !... [More]
Comment icon #41 Posted by HAJiME 15 years ago
I don't see why this is suprising? No animal is going to be moral by our standards, but then many of us aren't moral by our standards, morals differ from culture to culture and even person to person.
Comment icon #42 Posted by greggK 15 years ago
LOL, I have to disagree with my two cats. I wouldn't say they stare, it's more like gaze. Phoebe will look at me and purr until she falls asleep standing up... Fairuza just looks at me and I like to study her eyes... cats have such gorgeous eyes. Neither of us really look away. It probably depends on the type of bond you have with the cat. Yes, gaze is a better word. When they 'gaze,' the whole picture is there; there is not any particular thing that brings any more interest than other thing except if it is moving. For example, if you were locked in a gaze with your cat sitting still and you s... [More]
Comment icon #43 Posted by greggK 15 years ago
Erm that is simply natural social behaviour in bottlenose dolphins. They (and for that matter any other species of dolphin) are not be coming more human. They just happen to be social predators.Right from wrong are highly subjective and there is no sensible value you can apply to all species. Yeah, their actions are just like carrier pigeons. But, the point is there is an intermediary stuck in there that is is not supposed to be there! Yes, dolphins are dolphins and they do what dolphins do, but when man comes in and gets the dolphin to do something for man, it no longer is a dolphin; it's lik... [More]

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