Here’s a great article on the socio-biology of empathy and the roots of moral behavior in animals.
The NY Times article begins:
“Some animals are surprisingly sensitive to the plight of others. Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others. Given the chance to get food by pulling a chain that would also deliver an electric shock to a companion, rhesus monkeys will starve themselves for several days.
Biologists argue that these and other social behaviors are the precursors of human morality.”
We’ve all come across two or three dead squirrels or possums in close proximity on the road. As though they were family trying to help each other after one of them got hit. And haven’t you seen a dead squirrel with another squirrel almost getting hit because it seems to be hanging around the body?
Animal compassion doesn’t make me wonder, as it wouldn’t anyone who shares their lives consciously with animals, but I hope it does the scientists who have the power to change the general perception.