Scientific Evidence That Animals Have Emotions – In general, emotions are one of the things that are inherent in humans, but you need to know that not only humans have emotions.
In simple terms, emotions can be defined as feelings that involve a reaction to an event. Well, in the world of psychology, emotions are usually associated with mental and human mood. Then, can the emotions in animals be proven scientifically?
1. Scientific studies have proven that animals also have emotions like humans
A science journal recorded on the Oxford Academic page states emphatically that animals, especially mammals, also have emotions like humans. They can be aroused and feel various kinds of feelings such as joy, fear, despair, sadness, respect, and even love.
In principle, the more complex the structure of the species, the more complex the way they think and feel about things. That is why a herd of elephants can feel deep sorrow or sorrow due to the death of a group member.
The study and research, published in 2000, have involved many animal species. Scientists and zoologists examine in detail their behavior, brain structure, evolutionary history, and even psychology. In conclusion, animals have different emotional qualities depending on the structure of their brains. Mammals clearly have a more complex emotional level than other types.
2. Evolution in animal brains is one of the causes for the emergence of emotions
Every organism on Earth must undergo evolution. In the animal world, the brain is a very important part and also continues to evolve, just like humans. One of the evolutionary evidence in animal brains is the existence of a limbic system in their brains.
A science journal entitled “The Limbic System Conception and Its Historical Evolution” published in The Scientific World Journal explains that the limbic system is the area in the brain that is responsible for generating emotions in living things. This system has also been shown to provide sexual impulse or desire to many species on Earth.
In the journal, it is also explained that the limbic system is the result of evolution over a very long period of time. Scientists and academics have found evidence that complex brain structures are produced through a combination of genetic, natural selection, and change (evolution) that occurred since ancient times, namely hundreds of millions to billions of years ago.
3. Direct observation of pets is the easiest evidence to obtain
Do you have pets? Yup, in fact, pets, such as dogs, cats, turtles, birds, and other species have emotions that can be radiated through their behavior. You should not be surprised if you often see them happy, anxious, and perhaps protective of their owner.
Domestic animals that have been domesticated or domesticated, such as dogs and cats, usually have an emotional level that humans tend to easily understand. This happened because through the process of domestication over hundreds of thousands of years, dogs and cats became more attached to humans.
So, the assumption that pets have no emotions is a wrong assumption. Science actually states that they are a species of intelligent mammals who share the same emotions as humans.
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4. In the wild, the emotions and instincts of animals are an adaptive way in which they can continue to be survivors
As written on the University of California website, animals in the wild often show their emotions as a form of emotional outburst or reactions due to certain events. In fact, scientists believe that the emotions in animals can also be linked to their instinct to survive in the midst of the wilds of nature.
We need not have doubts about emotions and feelings of empathy for elephants. The same thing can happen in primates, fish, birds, and even reptiles. Even though the way they do it is very different, their behavior in releasing emotions and instincts has only one goal, namely to become an adaptive species group in nature.
Although it is difficult to explain, scientists believe that the concept of emotions and instincts of animals in the wild can be embedded in their genetics. That is why their emotional level and instinctive character must be identical to what their ancestors carried.
5. What about animals that have small brains, don’t even have brains?
Animals, such as clams, jellyfish, starfish, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins can survive even though they do not have brains. The small fish in the ocean also have very small brains. So, can they feel emotions too? BBC Earth notes on its website that the answer to this can be biased.
The first opinion, there are scientists who claim that animals, such as fish, sea cucumbers, jellyfish, starfish, etc., only have an instinct to live and have no emotions. However, in the second opinion, other scientists believe that they can still feel emotions even though they do not have a brain structure like other organisms.
In the second group of opinion, academics still adhere to the evolutionary process that occurs in each organism. Fear, sexual arousal, stress, pleasure, and other basic feelings may be felt by all simple organisms, except plants. So, more in-depth study and research is still needed to find out the exact answer.