Wolf Relations

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Solar Wind Dragon
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Wolf Relations

Post by Solar Wind Dragon » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:18 pm

Out of curiosity, are wolves like dogs when it comes to feelings? I've noticed that domestic animals are generally... nicer. If a wolf lost their mate, do they mourn? Like the story of the stray dog not leaving its dead friend in Tokyo (I think it was Tokyo), do wolves have deep feelings for their mate or siblings? I've also seen situations where a mother cat wouldn't give up on her runt of the litter but a stray dog will "throw out" the runt. Is it the same with a wolf where they get rid of the pup with no chance of survival, or do their maternal instincts tell them to do their best to keep it alive?

Basically, do wolves become attached to each other whether it be a sibling, mate, or pup? Do they mourn over death?
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Re: Wolf Relations

Post by Blightwolf » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:30 pm

Animals do not "mourn" in the humane sense of the word, but it has been documented that among social animals (such as wolves) the loss of a conspecific may affect their behavior for a while; the animals may seem confused, and search for the deceased individual, for example, but this behavior is brief and temporary. Most animals recover from the deaths of their family members, mates, etc, rather quickly. If a wolf loses its mate, it will simply find another breeding partner. It doesn't get "sad" or depressed.

Saying that animals can feel grief (or any other emotion that is found in human behavior) is, in my opinion, highly anthropomorphizing, inaccurate, and non-scientific. People shouldn't humanize animals, I believe that doing so only blinds our ability to keep a healthy perspective towards animals. Animals are animals, but we are humans. Animals, no matter how intelligent, are not able to express human-like emotions and feelings.
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Re: Wolf Relations

Post by Solar Wind Dragon » Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:28 pm

Blightwolf wrote:Animals do not "mourn" in the humane sense of the word, but it has been documented that among social animals (such as wolves) the loss of a conspecific may affect their behavior for a while; the animals may seem confused, and search for the deceased individual, for example, but this behavior is brief and temporary. Most animals recover from the deaths of their family members, mates, etc, rather quickly. If a wolf loses its mate, it will simply find another breeding partner. It doesn't get "sad" or depressed.

Saying that animals can feel grief (or any other emotion that is found in human behavior) is, in my opinion, highly anthropomorphizing, inaccurate, and non-scientific. People shouldn't humanize animals, I believe that doing so only blinds our ability to keep a healthy perspective towards animals. Animals are animals, but we are humans. Animals, no matter how intelligent, are not able to express human-like emotions and feelings.
But domestic animals obviously love their owners and even seem to know when they're gone. When my friend's grandfather died, his ten year old dog died a week after when he stopped eating and did nothing all day. I strongly consider that love, however, I know that domestic animals are different from wild animals.
I've also seen situations where a mother cat wouldn't give up on her runt of the litter but a stray dog will "throw out" the runt.


Edit:
I know one scientist said animals don't feel love and only give us "love" for attention. But from experience, I know many animal lovers disagree. Science can't prove love. When it comes to wild animals, I can see where you stand, Blightwolf, and thank you for your answer. However, when it comes to our pets, I know that there is a connection between us. Maybe the connections between animals are different than people and animals. How do you explain the reunion of Christian the Lion and the owners he had not seen in years? I think I would love to debate this. I wonder if I can make a topic to discuss it.


http://wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=57216
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Re: Wolf Relations

Post by Blightwolf » Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:37 pm

I fully respect your opinion, Solar Wind Dragon, but I personally refuse to believe that animals - wild or domestic - possess the same emotional and social cognition as humans. My opinion is that our animals get attached to us for purely practical reasons; we provide them the most substantial and critical resources to ensure their survival and well-being, such as food and shelter. To put it simply, our animals rely on us and show us trust and affection because we control their resources. Yes, there is a social factor, as well, I do not deny that, but that factor is much more complex and extensive for humans than it is for animals.

Animals experience a certain behavior pattern of recognition and attraction, and this phenomenon is scientifically known as 'imprinting':
Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Zoology wrote:. . . The development through exceptionally fast learning in young animals of recognition of and attraction to members of their own species or to surrogates.

. . . A rapid learning process by which a newborn or very young animal establishes a behavior pattern of recognition and attraction to another animal of its own kind or to a substitute or an object identified as the parent.

. . . A rapid learning process by which a newborn or very young animal establishes a behavior pattern of recognition and attraction towards other animals of its own kind, as well as to specific individuals of its species, such as its parents, or to a substitute for these.
I do not intent to offend anyone who has differing opinions from mine with the following sentence, but I am very uncomfortable with the idea that organisms who are far less evolved, intellectual, and socially as well as technically advanced than as us humans would feel the same way about their conspecifics, or human caretakers. I just don't believe it to be true. I mean, animals clearly do not have the capability to make moral or ethical choices, unlike humans. Predators do not think whether it is 'morally acceptable' or not to attack and feed upon livestock, or kill our pets. They do it because of the animal instinct. And that is what, in my opinion, defines man from beast. We are capable of assessing our emotions and thoughts. We are aware of our motives and the consequences they bring both to ourselves and to others; animal do not and cannot think this way.
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Re: Wolf Relations

Post by Oceansong-Direwolf » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:23 pm

Blightwolf wrote:I mean, animals clearly do not have the capability to make moral or ethical choices, unlike humans.
Well, Blightwolf, humans are animals too. So animals apparently have the capability, don't they?
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Re: Wolf Relations

Post by Blightwolf » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:49 am

Oceansong-Direwolf wrote:
Blightwolf wrote:I mean, animals clearly do not have the capability to make moral or ethical choices, unlike humans.
Well, Blightwolf, humans are animals too. So animals apparently have the capability, don't they?
No, they do not, and not all animals possess the same capabilities. Humans are a species of animal, yes, and I'm not claiming in any way that we are the 'perfect' being, BUT we are unique among the animal kingdom.
Helene Guldberg, Ph.D. wrote:Only humans have morality, not animals

. . . Human beings, unlike other animals, are able to reflect on and make judgements about our own and others' actions, and as a result we are able to make considered moral choices.

. . . Human beings have something that no other animal has: an ability to participate in a collective cognition. Because we, as individuals, are able to draw on the collective knowledge of humanity, in a way no animal can, our individual abilities go way beyond what evolution has endowed us with. Our species is no longer constrained by our biology.

. . . We need to look to cultural evolution, rather than genetic evolution, to explain the vast gulf that exists between the capabilities and achievements of humans and those of other animals.

. . . We are capable of making judgements about our own and other people's behaviour, and have the capacity consciously to change the way we behave and society as whole.

Source: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rec ... ot-animals
Do animals have a sense of self-awareness? Absolutely. Are they capable of committing to social contracts with others? To a degree. But can animals make complex moral decisions? No. Animals cannot be held morally responsible for their actions. They do not have any kind of moral/ethical responsibility whatsoever. If animals indeed had this trait and they'd understand emotions in the same way as humans, wolves and lions wouldn't probably perform such actions as kill the offspring of their other conspecifics to protect their own bloodline, for example, because they would understand it's morally unacceptable. Yet many carnivorous animals exterminate any offspring they encounter that is not their own when they have the chance. If animals had morality, they would not attack livestock, because they would understand it is not 'natural prey' and therefore they are not 'allowed' to prey upon it because it damages humans' livelihoods, and causes social as well as financial distress to farmers and ranchers. Animals simply lack an ethical, moral, and social comprehension. Only humans have this ability.

I think it's preposterous and even offensive to ascribe human characteristics to other animals. I just find it very wrong, and disturbing. It is not sensible nor healthy to think that way. Anthropomorphizing animals in general is not healthy; it leads to horrible misconceptions and stereotypes about animal behavior, makes us biased towards wildlife, and disrespects science. Again, I respect the opinions of others and I acknowledge the fact that there are individuals who do not agree with me and I'm not trying to force anyone to accept my views/beliefs, either, but I just don't believe in this 'animals-have-feelings' absurdity.
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Re: Wolf Relations

Post by Tarbtano » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:27 am

Oceansong-Direwolf wrote:
Blightwolf wrote:I mean, animals clearly do not have the capability to make moral or ethical choices, unlike humans.
Well, Blightwolf, humans are animals too. So animals apparently have the capability, don't they?

And humans also can build and manage fire, yet I've never seen a wolf, bear; or lion charring a steak over an open flame. I also have hearty doubts the computer you're using to view this message was invented by anything that wasn't a member of a certain species of bipedal great ape

Anywho, back on topic

Animals do show rudimentary emotions, but nowhere near the level humans do. In all but extreme cases, animal emotion relies mostly on cause and effect. Whereas we humans (or at least 99.9% of the human population) have a complex consciences and a very well developed sense of self-awareness.
On the topic of mourning, while many types of animals may show signs of grief, there have only been three in earth’s history that display the incredibly complex behavior that can be called mourning. Two of them were types of humans (Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis) and the other is, one very rare occasions, the elephant. No members of the Carnivora family display such behavior.
Last edited by Tarbtano on Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wolf Relations

Post by Solar Wind Dragon » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:53 pm

A Mod can lock this, now. I made a topic to discuss this.

http://wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=57216
You gotta stand up tall, learn to face your fears. You'll see that thy can't hurt you so just laugh to make 'em disappear!
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