zoology-biology-benno-meyer-rochow-florian-nock-hate-animal

You Hate Something?

So how about the animals: do they hate something too?

Somebody recently told me a vulgar joke about why cats hate dogs and dogs hate cats, but since I hate vulgarity I neither found the joke funny nor will I retell it. However, what the joke did, was to make me think whether animals can indeed hate and express such an emotion usually associated with human behaviour. Obviously, animals can express affection: the cat rubbing its head against your leg (or another cat’s head), dogs licking your hand, baby mice snuggling up to their mother and even a tame koi carp turning on its side to have its belly scratched. But is that love and if it is, is there also the opposite, namely hate? —>

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zoology-biology-benno-meyer-rochow-florian-nock-nociception-pain-insects-blog

Pain in Insects?

Compared with them, we humans are terrible wimps

Children -and a few adults as well- are known to have sometimes plucked off the wings of flies, heaven knows why. Housewives do not hesitate emptying spray cans of insecticide over ants in the kitchen and gardeners can go berserk over aphids on their precious rose bushes and would try to annihilate the pest with all the chemical weaponry available. Isn’t that cruel? Are the insects not suffering pain and distress? Let us examine. —>

Rudimentary Behaviours

Biting Birds and Piloerection

Anybody who knows that the kiwi is foremost and for all a bird (and not a fruit) knows that this New Zealander has no wings – only a few rudimentary bones remain of what were once the winsgs of its ancestors. Whales have no hind limbs, so the entire pubic girdle became vestigial. Certain toes are often superfluous and consequently through the process of selection have diminished in size or disappeared completely as in the horse and other hoofed animals. Teeth, too, as with our so-called wisdom teeth can be vestigial and eye rudiments in cave organism are another example. The anatomical concept of rudimentary organs is therefore easily understood, but we could ask ourselves whether there might not also be something like a rudimentary behaviour or functionally useless action steeped in evolutionary history. Continue reading