Sunday, 1 February 2015

You've Lost That Loving Feeling?

I appreciate that there is a) a need to capture the interest of diverse audiences and b) a natural tendency to use short-hand language when popularising science but I am a bit nervous about the anthropomorphism evident in the BBC series 'Animals in Love' ( The stories are nice enough and complex mammals/birds clearly have 'emotions' but it is very unclear whether attributing human sentiments on the basis of appearance is a scientifically helpful activity. Animals do form social bonds (for mating, parental care and even security and status) but it seems to me a quantum leap to call it 'love' (not really a term that is much used by animal behaviourists anyhow). Maybe I'm not just an old romantic?

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