Six ‘uniquely’ human traits now found in animals

New Scientist har laget en oversikt over seks «unike menneskelige egenskaper» som også finnes hos dyr. Her omtales kultur, «tankelesing», bruk av redskaper, følelser og personlighet – med linker til videre lesing.

Min favoritt er nok likevel moral fordi dette bryter så fundamentalt med mange kristnes oppfatning om at man ikke kan være moralsk uten å tro på Gud, eller hvertfall at et samfunn må bygge på en religiøs tro for å kunne ha et moralsk fundament. Som jeg ofte har sagt i ulike debatter, så finnes det mye som tyder på at moral på ingen som helst måte er et unikt menneskelig fenomen, og hvertfall ikke knyttet spesielt til kristne kulturer.

Her er et utdrag fra artikkelen:

4. Morality

A classic study in 1964 found that hungry rhesus monkeys would not take food they had been offered if doing so meant that another monkey received an electric shock. The same is true of rats. Does this indicate nascent morality? For decades, we have preferred to find alternative explanations, but recently ethologist Marc Bekoff from the University of Colorado at Boulder has championed the view that humans are not the only moral species. He argues that morality is common in social mammals, and that during play they learn the rights and wrongs of social interaction, the «moral norms that can then be extended to other situations such as sharing food, defending resources, grooming and giving care».

[…]

«Work published this year showed that animals are able to make social evaluations and these assessments are foundational for moral behaviour in animals other than humans. Francys Subiaul of the George Washington University and his colleagues showed that captive chimpanzees are able to make judgments about the reputation of unfamiliar humans by observing their behaviour – whether they were generous or stingy in giving food to other humans. The ability to make character judgments is just what we would expect to find in a species in which fairness and cooperation are important in interactions among group members«