And not only do they cry, they play and laugh and have incredible memories as explained in this snippet from an article called Elephant Joy:
And why do they have such emotions and powerful memories? Both are related to the brain structure called the hippocampus which is very large in elephants, as explained here:Elephants often express what can only be described as joy
in many different facets of their lives. Due to our lack of knowledge of their
expressions only the most blatant responses can be partially understood.
Some cases in which Elephants show explicit joy is
Typically this expression of joy takes place in the form of a
- In the greeting of a friend or family member (even a human friend)
- After the birth of a baby elephant
- Playing games
greeting ceremony. Obviously, there are may other aspects to this ceremony that
goes without recognition, but joy is one of the most predominant factors. When
family members or friends meet, they can be seen to become collectively involved
in a joyous meeting. This is usually observed when a friend or family member is
absent for a long time. When he/she returns, an incredible welcoming takes
place. During this greeting the elephants involved will spin around, defecate,
and urinate. With their heads held high, and ears flapping they fill the air
with a symphony of trumpets, rumbles, screams, and
And the same article explains that mice have empathy because they have mirror neurons just like humans (this strongly supports the naturalistic explanation of morality):Neuroscientific research has also shown, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), that elephants have a huge hippocampus, a brain structure in the limbic system that's important in processing emotions. We now know that elephants suffer from psychological flashbacks and likely experience the equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, all mammals (including humans) share neuroanatomical structures (for example, the amygdala and hippocampus) and neurochemical pathways in the limbic system that are tied to feelings
The article is about the FACT that animals have emotions which are just like our human emotions in many ways. Here is how it began:And who would have imagined that laboratory mice are actually empathic? But we now know they are. Research has shown that mice react more strongly to painful stimuli after they observe other mice in pain, and it turns out that they are fun loving as well.
This is why all enlightened souls have always taught compassion for all living creatures.One of the hottest questions in the study of animal behavior is, "Do animals have emotions?" The simple answer is, "Of course they do." Just look at them, listen to them, and, if you dare, smell the odors they emit when they interact with friends and foes. Look at their faces, tails, bodies and, most importantly, their eyes. What we see on the outside tells us a lot about what's happening inside animals" heads and hearts.
As a scientist who's studied animal emotions for more than 30 years, I consider myself very fortunate. Whenever I observe or work with animals, I get to contribute to science and develop social relationships at the same time, and to me, there's no conflict between the two. While stories about animal emotions abound, there are many lines of scientific support (what I call "science sense") about the nature of animal emotions that are rapidly accumulating from behavioral and neurobiological studies (from the emerging field called social neuroscience). Common sense and intuition also feed into and support science sense and the obvious conclusion is that mammals, at the very least, experience rich and deep emotional lives, feeling passions from pure and contagious joy during play, to deep grief and pain. Recent data also shows that birds and fish are sentient and experience pain and suffering. Prestigious scientific journals regularly publish essays on joy in rats, grief in elephants and empathy in mice.
The bottom line is that we know more about animal passions then we often admit, and we can no longer ignore the pain and suffering of other beings. Many people in higher education are faced with difficult questions about the use of animals in their classrooms and research laboratories and today we must accept that there are compelling reasons stemming from scientific research to limit and perhaps stop using animals in lieu of the numerous highly effective non-animal alternatives that are readily available.