Do animals fall in love?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

Do animals also fall in love?
But first.. what is the difference between "in love" and "love?
 

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  • #2
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There is no reason to assume that animal's body chemistry differs from ours. And at last, love is nothing but chemical processes.
 
  • #3
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There is no reason to assume that animal's body chemistry differs from ours. And at last, love is nothing but chemical processes.
That's a pretty inane statement. Everything biological is "nothing but a chemical process". That doesn't make it any less wonderful and magnificent.

To respond to the OP: Obviously animals don't feel love the same way people do, but they definitely experience emotional attachment to offspring and mates in some species, at least for a short time.
 
  • #4
Fervent Freyja
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Yes, some animals do seem to form emotional attachments with other animals even outside of their own species. Even as far as sexual attraction, there are many instances where male mammals have been known to be sexually aroused by female humans!

There is no reason to assume that animal's body chemistry differs from ours. And at last, love is nothing but chemical processes.
Of course it is a biomechanical process, but it is a very powerful one at that. There are many types of love, but being in love with another person is an interaction where we have perspectives of ourselves reflected back to us (or hopes that it will occur) -- a healthy narcissistic aspect is involved. Such mirrors are the most powerful way to validate our existence. Sadly, there often isn't an equal exchange or mutual feeling involved to maintain the interaction. Have you never been in love?

"Eros, what have we here! An hourglass in both your hands! What?! Frivolous god, are you doubly measuring time?"
 
  • #5
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Do animals have ego boundaries? I think this is a mainstream psychiatric term.
 
  • #6
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Yes, some animals do seem to form emotional attachments with other animals even outside of their own species. Even as far as sexual attraction, there are many instances where male mammals have been known to be sexually aroused by female humans!



Of course it is a biomechanical process, but it is a very powerful one at that. There are many types of love, but being in love with another person is an interaction where we have perspectives of ourselves reflected back to us (or hopes that it will occur) -- a healthy narcissistic aspect is involved. Such mirrors are the most powerful way to validate our existence. Sadly, there often isn't an equal exchange or mutual feeling involved to maintain the interaction. Have you never been in love?
What's in it for the other person. Are you saying being "in love" is selfish because it's about perspectives of ourselves reflected back to us and "such mirrors are the most powerful way to validate our existence"?
 
  • #7
256bits
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Do animals also fall in love?
But first.. what is the difference between "in love" and "love?
What type of animal?
Mammals(apes, canines, felines ), birds, fish, insects, reptiles?
Animal is quite broad.
And putting a humanistic label onto animal behavior can be problematic.
 
  • #8
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I can name several types of animals that certainly experience the emotion of love between other members of their or other species: primates, dogs, elephants, parrots. Koko the gorilla has expressed love for multiple humans and her cats and Alex the parrots last words expressed love to his trainer. Humans aren't the only mostly monogamous species, any animal that pairs up like that would likely have a chemical process that could be described as in love.
 
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There is no reason to assume that animal's body chemistry differs from ours. And at last, love is nothing but chemical processes.
Yeah, some would think that statement debatable.
 
  • #10
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Yeah, some would think that statement debatable.
I admit I should have narrowed it down to "mammals living on the same planet" just to make it less vulnerable (but not for scientific reasons!). Mammals hormones evolved very similar for good reasons, esp. oxytocin.
 
  • #11
256bits
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I can name several types of animals that certainly experience the emotion of love between other members of their or other species: primates, dogs, elephants, parrots. Koko the gorilla has expressed love for multiple humans and her cats and Alex the parrots last words expressed love to his trainer. Humans aren't the only mostly monogamous species, any animal that pairs up like that would likely have a chemical process that could be described as in love.
I suppose that is where the research lies - in how much is rote or roster, as opposed to information processing.
Alex said those words - I suppose he could have been trained to say "See ya. Don't want to be ya" at each end of each and every day. A lot of writers of his life make it out to be more than it is, in that the reader is to assume he said it on his death bed just before his last breath.
 

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