To me, it’s obvious that animals have emotions. Maybe they’re not as complex as the emotions we humans have, but I’m sure they can feel fear, sadness and joy.
I’ve seen it myself. I grew up in a farmhouse and know that sheep and cows are emotional creatures. They’re joyful at mealtimes, sad to be separated from their little ones and become fearful around strangers or loud sounds.
Still, not everyone grows up around animals and knows this. And that’s why a discovery by 8-year-old Dante de Card is so important.
The Arizona boy has proven that wild pigs have significantly deeper emotional lives than many people previously believed. And he did it by setting up hidden cameras in the woods near his house.
Eight-year-old Dante de Kort has always been interested in animals. Perhaps, this is because there are so many wild animals in the area around his home in Arizona.
If Dante had to choose his favorite animal, he’d probably chose the collared peccary, or javelina. It’s a species of wild pig that he likes to study and film.
One day, Dante’s mom was reading him an article about wild pigs and the boy had a strong reaction to it. The author of the article mentioned that wild pigs venture out alone in the woods to die when they were old or sick.
But Dante knew better.
Dante knew that the animals care too much about each other to leave their old and sick to die alone. He’s even seen wild pigs mourn their dead.
So Dante decided to disprove the author of the article by doing his own study using video cameras.
According to researchers, only a few kinds of animals mourn their dead. We know that elephants, chimpanzees and dolphins display this behavior, but there’s not much documentation of other species doing it.
Dante and his mother set up hidden cameras in the woods and managed to capture something incredible on film.
They filmed wild pigs, or collared peccaries, visiting a dead family member.
The family members gathered around their dead friend and sat with it.
And they even lay asleep next to it.
Dante presented his research at science fair, where it attracted a lot of attention, including from a peccary researcher named Mariana Altrichter. She just happened to be there to see her daughter’s project.
“I was walking around looking at projects related to natural history when I came across Dante’s poster, showing pictures of collared peccaries… When I started to read it I couldn’t believe what it was about,” she tells The Dodo.
Mariana had never heard of wild pigs behaving like that to their dead relatives.
Researchers wouldn’t listen
In his presentation, Dante described how he tried to contact peccary researchers in the area to show them his videos, but nobody had bothered to respond to the 8-year-old’s messages.
Then, Mariana decided to help him.
Since she’s a researcher, Mariana decided to publish a scientific article on the subject in collaboration with Dante. It didn’t take long before newspapers and television shows wanted to report the discovery.
Now, Mariana hopes that Dante’s discovery will lead to greater understanding of these animals.
“Many people see them as a nuisance, especially in the U.S., as they walk through people’s yards, eat ornamental plants, etc.,” she says. “These findings may help people to see them in a different way, as smart animals with complex social relationships.”
Watch some of Dante’s footage here:
This 8-year-old deserves all the praise in the world for his discovery. Hopefully, it will help convince more people that animals have complex emotions, too.
We humans like to view ourselves as above all of the other creatures on Earth, when the fact is, the planet belongs to all species. Share if you agree!
Published by Animal Bible. Please like.