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Rats demonstrate advanced empathy
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Rats demonstrate advanced empathy:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45602445/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/empathetic-rats-step-help-others-bind/

So it looks as though rats are capable of saving their friends from danger, despite the lack of reward. Also, they will share treats with friends, too.

The amazing thing about this is that the more we study rats, the more and more surprises we find. Recently they also recognized metacognition (thinking about thinking) in rats, as well as culture (the culture study was pretty interesting - rats in one Italian city were passing on the skills required to swim through water and harvest freshwater mussels as food to their children). And for their size, rats have pretty large brains - the ratio of rat brain to body size is 1:40, which doesn't sound that impressive until you realize that its the same in humans. Rats also have a fairly complex language (its in the hypersonic frequency so you normally can't hear it), and social structure.

I think that when the time comes, rats ought to be one of the first species that we uplift.
 
 2 USAF713, Thu, 8th Dec '11 8:37:00 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Perhaps we should rethink allowing experimentation on rats and put them in the "smart animals" category, hm?
I am now known as Flyboy.
 3 Oh So Into Cats, Thu, 8th Dec '11 8:55:39 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
Have they shown a lack of empathy in other mammals?
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
 4 The Earth Sheep, Thu, 8th Dec '11 8:56:13 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
I think that when the time comes, rats ought to be one of the first species that we uplift.

Please tell me this is a joke.
Still Sheepin'
 5 Oh So Into Cats, Thu, 8th Dec '11 8:59:58 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
Apparently raccoons will be the ones to inherit the earth because they're clever and the way they manipulate things with their paws.

Seeing as they can be trapped until they die with a board with a hole in it, a few nails, and a shiny object, though, they still have a long way to go.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
 6 Aceof Spades, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:03:25 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
Well, dolphins have displayed disturbing sociopathic behavior on occasion. ... And now I feel safer with rats. How strange.
 7 The Earth Sheep, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:05:49 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
[up][up] http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=492

I'm sorry, it had to be said.
Still Sheepin'
 8 Oh So Into Cats, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:10:22 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
[up] LOL

[up][up] Don't worry, humans are more closely related to rats than to dolphins. Perhaps with this information, being a dirty rat is not so bad?
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
 9 Aceof Spades, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:14:00 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
Maybe we're in for a change in slang. "Crafty and kind as a rat, that guy is!"

Anyway, I suppose this is an interesting look into the mechanisms that make us act as we do, as this seems to be behavior observable in many mammal species. Guess it's part of the pack mentality; protect the pack, they are your buddies. Also, they might return the favor some day.
 10 annebeeche, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:29:41 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
Rats are actually very clever! They make wonderful pets. :)

Rodents are the closest clade of animals after primates.

edited 8th Dec '11 9:30:49 PM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
[up]Hey now, while true, don't forget that we share a supraorder with rabbits and whatever the frick this thing is supposed to be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colugo too!
 
 12 Vellup, Thu, 8th Dec '11 10:05:14 PM from America Relationship Status: The Skitty to my Wailord
I have balls.
Oh... I... um... used to own a fully grown boa constrictor, and every week I'd buy a "Fancy Rat" from Petco, beat it to death with a rain stick (because tame/domesticated snakes can't defend themselves from rats :/) and toss the twitching and paralyzed, still barely living body into the cage to be eaten alive. I'm not sure what I should be thinking right now.
They never travel alone.
[up]I left a rat in my snake's cage when I was going away for a few weeks - I knew that the snake would be hungry at some point in time, but he just wasn't hungry right then and I had a plane to catch. Come back a few weeks latter, and I have a well fed new pet rat. You shouldn't feel bad for preparing the rodent for the snake - the rodents can fight back, otherwise. Though perhaps you could have used a less violent method of finishing the mouse off - I hear putting them in a freezer for an hour or so isn't all that painful for the rat, as they just sort of fall asleep after awhile.
 
 14 Aondeug, Thu, 8th Dec '11 10:43:04 PM from  Our Dreams
Oh My
Now if only I could convince more people that rats are completely horrible animals hellbent on destroying everything and being ugly...

This is really neat though. Go rats. You guys are awesome and deserve a lot more respect than you get.
If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
Princess Ymir's knightess
I think that when the time comes, rats ought to be one of the first species that we uplift.

[up]It seemed to work out in Oh! My Goddess.
 
 17 Aceof Spades, Thu, 8th Dec '11 11:31:46 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
Well, you can't be serious now, given that's a fantasy manga to begin with. If that was a serious comment, don't fucking back it up with a FANTASY ROMANCE SERIES.
Is that cake frosting?
Assuming that uplifting is possible, I would not have objections.

However, rats as they are now are much too small to be capable of full sapience, I think — you'd probably have to let them grow quite bigger. Dog-sized at least, I'd guess.
But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 19 Deboss, Fri, 9th Dec '11 2:45:17 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
So it looks as though rats are capable of saving their friends from danger, despite the lack of reward.

So keeping the pack large isn't an advantage now?
 20 USAF713, Fri, 9th Dec '11 3:51:01 AM from the United States
I changed accounts.
I doubt we'll be uplifting other species. It's pointless to purposely bring forth more competition.
I am now known as Flyboy.
 21 Excelion, Fri, 9th Dec '11 4:00:44 AM from The Fatherland
This is so awesome I could cry.
 22 Milos Stefanovic, Fri, 9th Dec '11 4:04:43 AM from White City, Ruritania
Decemberist
Empathy isn't unique to humans and rats, a lot of animals have it. I can't say I'm surprised.
The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
We are not experimenting on the rats

The rats are experimenting on us!!!
I will always cherish the chance of a new beggining.
I think that when the time comes, rats ought to be one of the first species that we uplift.

Forget that; they're annoying enough as it is.

 25 De Marquis, Fri, 9th Dec '11 7:49:37 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
While I don't want to rain on anybody's parade, the study as described actually demonstrates intelligent altruistic behavior, but doesnt actually measure empathy. I don't see how they can eliminate other possible explanations, such as an inherited response pattern, or a conditioned reflex.

I'm not saying they're wrong, but this needs further research.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
Total posts: 27
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