Do animals have rich emotional lives? For people who spend a lot of time with animals, these are silly questions. Common sense tells us that our animal companions do indeed show happiness, sadness, anger, jealousy and grief. However, common sense is sometimes difficult to reconcile with science sense, which looks for repeatable observations under controlled conditions. But emotions are often brief and unrepeatable.
For centuries, the inner lives of animals were ignored because we assumed animals were automatons – biological machines ruled simply by urges and instincts, responding mechanically to stimuli they were confronted with. However, we share nearly 99 percent of our genetic material with our nearest biological relative, the chimpanzee. Is it possible, then, that with so much in common, we have emotions and other creatures do not?
Like people, animals behave in recognizable ways when feeling happiness, grief or anger. In addition, the study of neurobiology reveals that different species of animals have in common both certain brain structures and the chemicals that transmit information within those structures. Today many scientists are accepting that non-human animals do indeed experience emotions and there is increasing evidence that birds, reptiles and fish experience some kind of emotional activity as well. The study of animals emotions has become an exciting field that is quickly making up for lost time. According to some scientists, in the last ten years, we have probably learned as much as we did in the previous one hundred.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
1. Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE? Copy the evidence from the text. No marks are given for only TRUE or FALSE answers.
a) As far as animals emotions are concerned, common sense and science sense are always in agreement.
- FALSE: (...) common sense is sometimes difficult to reconcile with science sense, which looks for repeatable observations under controlled conditions. But emotions are often brief and unrepeatable" (Paragraph 1)
b) Nowadays, an important part of the scientific community has come to the conclusion that non-human animals do have feelings.
- TRUE: Today many scientists are accepting that non-human animals do indeed experience emotions (and there is increasing evidence that birds, reptiles and fish experience some kind of emotional activity as well). (Paragraph 3)
2. According to the text and using your own words, answer the following questions:
a) Why did animal emotions go unnoticed for many years?
- The inner lives of animals were ignored because animals were considered automatons, machines that responded mechanically to stimuli, driven by instincts and urges.
b) What scientific evidence is there to show that animals experience emotions?
- According to studies in neurobiology, different species of animals share some brain structures and the chemicals that are used to send information in those structures. Humans and chimpanzees share almost 99 percent of their genetic material and have much in common. (However, it is difficult to study animal emotions scientifically because emotions are brief and unrepeatable, and science needs repeatable observation under controlled conditions).
II. USE OF ENGLISH
3. Find the words in the text that mean:
a) truly (paragraph 1): indeed
b) besides (paragraph 3): in addition
c) growing (paragraph 3): increasing
d) too (paragraph 3): as well
4. Complete the following sentences. Use the appropriate form of the word in brackets when given.
a) If scientists study/studied (study) more about the characteristics of animal behaviour in the future, they will understand/ would understand (understand) more about human personality.
b) Two animals that/which show intense emotions are whales and dolphins. Their emotional lives have been explored (explore) for many years.
c) Scientists say that the most wonderful thing about working (work) with chimpanzees is discovering their intelligence. In fact, they are the most intelligent (intelligent) animals in the world.
d) Rewrite the following sentence in reported speech with the words given: “My experiments will prove the existence of the emotional lives of animals”, said Darwin.