Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thinking, feeling cetaceans?

"Whales may share our kind of intelligence, researchers say after discovering brain cells previously found only in humans and other primates.
They were touted as the brain cells that set humans and the other great apes apart from all other mammals. Now it has been discovered that some whales also have spindle neurons – specialised brain cells that are involved in processing emotions and helping us interact socially.
Spindle cells, named after their long, spindle-shaped bodies, are the cells that are credited with allowing us to feel love and to suffer emotionally. Their discovery in whales will stimulate debate both on the level of whale intelligence and on the ethics of hunting them.
The cells occur in parts of the human brain that are thought to be responsible for our social organisation, empathy, speech, intuition about the feelings of others, and rapid “gut” reactions."

This article certainly has further implications for the morality of whaling (Link in the title).


It's curious that I would place even more importance on preventing whaling, having this possibility of these animals being an intelligent lifeform.

Animal rights? The more intelligent a creature, the more it's worth? I guess it's a position predicated on the intrinsic value of our own species, but then, it's only natural to have a human-centric outlook when you're a human. :D

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