Animal Altruism is Real, and So is Their Appreciation

Forming The Thread

Anyone who doubts that animals can have sympathetic, altruistic emotions need look no farther than these videos.

In the news last month, I ran across a video from the Taipei Zoo, showing a tortoise very deliberately and methodically bumping an upside-down, stranded tortoise until the stranded one is back on his feet. Yay! Smiles and cheers all around. Uh… turns out that was probably not really all that altruistic, according to reptile expert David Steen:  “These animals will ram each other [and] flip each other over, so it’s not particularly unusual …. It looks altruistic, but my guess is it’s just an extension of the same aggressive behavior that the animal exhibits…. It’s possible that they’re two males fighting, but it’s also possible that they’re a male and female courting…. I know I’m kind of being a buzzkill here.”

[Sigh] So much for that. But there are plenty…

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