“How she loves me!” - the owner of the dog thinks with tenderness, looking how she rejoices at his arrival. But really, are animals capable of love, or are people inclined to attribute human feelings to them?
The most developed animals, like humans, are naturally endowed with complex higher nervous activity. Like representatives of Homo sapiens, they have a temperament, are able to remember and learn. They are characterized by emotions characteristic of people: fear and joy, anger and tenderness. But can animals experience feelings, like humans, for example, love?
Of course, animals have feelings, but they are not like humans. At the heart of the feelings of the beast is instinct, simple emotions, not burdened by moral norms, reflections and abstract concepts, as in humans.
But some scientists still recognize the ability of animals to experience love.
Couples in nature arise spontaneously, but not by accident. The female will most likely mate with the male of her own species, but not with any one, but only with the one who "pleases" her, ie. with whom, as a result, she is able to give birth to the most viable offspring. In order to "continue themselves" the strongest and most adapted individuals were able to, wise nature provided rituals of courtship, struggle for the female, provided the animals with the ability to smell, external signs and other signs known only to them to unmistakably determine which of the representatives of the species is most worthy " love ". Perhaps, many species of animals breed so reluctantly in captivity: they simply have no choice.
Some animals form stable pairs: wolves and foxes, arctic foxes and ermines, swans and storks, vultures and eagles. The partnership of these animals lasts several seasons in a row, sometimes until one of the couple dies. Others form stable pairs for one mating season, such as beavers. But the "fidelity" of these representatives of the fauna is conditioned not by moral norms, but by physiological characteristics: their cubs are born helpless and can survive only with the care of both parents.
Other animals "adhere" to polygamous relationships, and this is also due to the physiological characteristics of a particular species. Males of many polygamous animals during the mating season lose their caution, refuse food, thus, the mortality rate among males increases sharply. To ensure the preservation of the species, each male representative of the "polygamous" species of the animal world strives to fertilize as many females as possible during the rut.
For the survival of each species, not only the reproductive instinct is important, but also the maternal instinct, which makes the female take care of her cubs, teach them to avoid danger, get food for themselves, equip a home - everything without which a full life of an adult animal is impossible.
And they do this not because they "should" or feel "responsible" for their babies. This powerful mechanism is inherent in the female by nature itself. But, looking at how touchingly a mother licks her babies, how selflessly she rushes to protect them, even if the forces are not equal, and sometimes literally sacrifices herself in order for the offspring to survive, who will turn his tongue to say that this is not love? Not all secrets have been revealed to us by nature, and a person cannot yet say with certainty whether feelings are hidden behind the instincts of animals, perhaps not in our, human, understanding of this word, but in some special, deep, "animal" understanding?