It is difficult to think of a life without animals. They are so much intertwined with our lives that even our everyday language is heavily saturated with zoological references – we might jokingly call our friends that they are as ‘fat as a hog’ or as ‘hungry as a bear’ and while we praise someone for their qualities we might say that so and so is as ‘gentle as a lamb’ or as ‘pure as a dove’ and the like. Even children's literature is abound with animal stories and references such as ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Thumbelina’, etc.
Scientists have always been drawn to the study of animals and behavior – sometimes it is their feeding behavior or habitat selection that interests them or it is the search of new medical treatments that draws their attention to animals at other times. Animals have their own distinctive physiological and psychological patterns yet the fact that we have lungs, a heart, a brain, a nervous system, and many other features that we share with animals sometimes make us relate to them even more. But are you also aware that many scientists study animal behavior because it sheds light on human beings? Is it possible for animals to share numerous emotional and cognitive processes with us? Are there some studies or theories that provide us with a nuanced understanding of animal behavior while also highlighting the animal-human behavior nexus? Read this interesting module to get your answers!