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5. When someone wrongs us, what’s one of the first things that come to mind after anger? Yes. Revenge! Even though we are all supposed to forgive and forget, a big part of us wants to lash out and make that person “pay” for what he or she did. Well, maybe it’s an animal instinct after all. Take, for example, the case of Thamby, who group hunted and killed tigers in the wild, along with many other assorted illegal activities. One member in Thamby’s group was nicknamed Baby. In late February one year, Baby stalked and killed a tigress, shearing the animal’s skin and sharing her meat among the group. The men left the area shortly afterwards but returned to it four days later. That – as it turned out – was a very fatal mistake for Baby, as a male tiger – strongly believed to be the mate of the tigress killed by him only a few days earlier – pounced on Baby and ripped him to shreds. He died on the way to the hospital. Thamby told police he believed the tiger had taken revenge on baby. What do you think? Mere coincidence, or did the male tiger exact its revenge on the poacher who killed his mate?
4. Rats are typically not the cuddliest of creatures, and most people – both male and female – tend to scatter like barnyard chickens when they see one. But rats don’t need human companionship. They have each other’s back… more than you know. In scientific experiments, two rats that had shared some time in a cage were placed in a different device. The scientists placed one of the rats in a very restrictive area of the device, giving it the feeling of being trapped, while the other rat was allowed to roam freely within it and even presented with a great deal of food. But loud wails of distress from the trapped rat apparently concerned the free rat greatly, as it ignored the wealth of food it could easily consume and concentrated on trying to free his trapped friend. This proved to the scientists that the rats shared empathy for one another, an emotion thought to only be felt by humans. Once the trapped rat was freed, the other rat even deliberately shared its food with his buddy. So if someone calls you a “rat,” you’re really not all that bad after all.
3. When a loved one or a friend dies, we are all overwhelmed with grief, and often it consumes us that we die a little inside ourselves. But we are not the only species to do so. Geese have also been known to show evidence of extreme grief, especially when its lifelong mate dies or is killed. A goose in grief will lose weight, separate from its flock and be submissive to other geese. But also like humans, the grieving period passes with time and the goose will find another mate, and its typically another goose that has lost its longtime companion.
In another case of bereavement, chimpanzees have been known to hold on to their offspring for weeks after they have died, carrying them as though nothing was wrong, and treating them very carefully as though they were still alive. Obviously, humans don’t do this, because it would be just plain creepy if they did. But it shows that even through death, chimpanzees have a very difficult time letting go of the ones they loved.
2. Depression hits us all at one time or another. It can range from a slight case of sadness to an overwhelming sense of total displacement. In that highest range of depression, many have committed suicide because they are so incredibly sad, that they just don’t see going on with their lives. In Dumbarton, Scotland, in the village of Milton, stands a bridge when events go on that the villagers find hard to understand. Quite often, dogs have been observed jumping from it to their deaths below. The canines have actually been seen climbing the parapet wall of the bridge to make the fatal jump, and even those who were not killed by the fall on the first attempt have returned to do it again. What on earth would make a dog do this? Dogs actually get depressed, and sometimes that depression is so hard, they choose not to continue with their lives and, as do humans, commit suicide.
1. How superstitious are you? Do you carry a lucky rabbit’s foot? Maybe you don’t walk on sidewalk cracks or under a ladder. What do you do if a black cat crosses the road in front of you while you’re driving? Some humans even think superstitious behavior by other humans is quite odd. But some animals display their own brand of superstition in the pure belief it will cause a reaction. Back in the late 1940s, experiments were conducted with caged pigeons that enforce their beliefs in superstitions. At times, they would sway their heads and a dispenser would open giving them food. The dispenser was on a timer, but the pigeons felt the superstition of swinging their heads caused the food to replenish.
Guinea pigs also can display superstitious behavior. In one experiment, a guinea pig would walk over to a scented tin and place its paw on it. It would then start shaking its head at the human before getting a treat. In experiments, the animal would walk over to the tin and touch it but no treats would come its way until it started shaking its head. The animal believed it was the only way to get something good.