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Monkeys and apes have a sense of morality and the rudimentary ability to tell right from wrong, according to new research.
In a series of studies scientists have found that monkeys and apes can make judgments about fairness, offer altruistic help and empathize when a fellow animal is ill or in difficulties. They even appear to have consciences and the ability to remember obligations.
The research implies that morality is not a uniquely human quality and suggests it arose through evolution.
"The possibility that empathy resides in parts of the brain so ancient that we share them with rats should give pause to anyone comparing politicians with those poor, underestimated creatures."
"I've argued that many of what philosophers call moral sentiments can be seen in other species. In chimpanzees and other animals, you see examples of sympathy, empathy, reciprocity, a willingness to follow social rules. Dogs are a good example of a species that have and obey social rules; that's why we like them so much, even though they're large carnivores."
"To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental, about both animals and us." from "Are We in Anthropodenial?"
Originally posted by apacheman
I'm sorry....I don't understand the question.
Why wouldn't any creature NOT understand morality or .....hhmmmm.....right behavior?
Of course chimps have morals, so do elephants, bears, lions, baboons.....dogs, cats....damn, I can't think of anything living that doesn't.
Usen gave to all both self-awareness and a unique power. We are all equal. This is something only Jews, Christians, and Muslims would think strange or remarkable.
[edit on 17-2-2009 by apacheman]
Other studies have confirmed that the strength of a person's conscience depends partly on their genes. Several researchers have shown, for example, that the children of habitual criminals will often become criminals too - even when they have had no contact with their biological parents.