Sunday, May 31, 2015

Orangutan and Human bond over babies

Hey All,

I don't know if you guys are redditors or not, but I found this image posted under r/aww of a human mom and her child bonding with an orangutan with her child.

While I found that it was fascinating that the orangutan had such human like qualities, with how she was carrying the baby the same way as the human mom, how she pressed her hands against the glass, how she pointed with her fingers, and how she curiously looked at the baby, I also found it quite sad. I thought that it was cruel and unusual punishment to allow such an intelligent animal with human-like qualities to be put behind a glass "prison" simply because it is not a human. This image made me ask the same question that this class has discussed before: how much intelligence does an animal need to show in order to prove that it is intelligent enough? This image also reminded me of The Academy, which we have read in class, when the narrator described the conditions of being trapped in a cage. It also reminded me of how hard the narrator tried to be human, in order to prove its intelligence and escape its "prison."


  1. Nice post! I actually saw this on reddit a couple of days ago. I find it interesting how the orangutan reacts towards the baby. It seems to experiencing a typical human reaction to the baby. A cute reaction. However perhaps this us simply assigning human characteristics to the orangutan. It obviously has a unique intelligence but humans seem to need animals to exhibit human-like intelligence. Rather than a human cute reaction, it's more likely that this orangutan is reacting to the baby based on a unique orangutan emotion. However since the only emotions we can understand are human emotions we try to assign the orangutans these emotions rather than realizing orangutans like all other animals experience the world uniquely.

    1. It's really interesting that you pointed this out and it really made me think about our views of animals. I believe that we, as humans, create these emotions and feelings for our animals because that is the only way we can remotely understand them. However I feel that this is not a good thing, because we could be completely wrong about what we say and think about animals. Animals have unique emotions that we will never be able to fully comprehend, so instead we assign them these human-like emotions that may or may not be correct. I know in section we discussed what we would do if we could see things from an animal perspective, and the first thing I would do is get in their minds to see what they truly feel. I would see what our animals do and do not enjoy, that way we can work towards making a better environment for our animals, whether they are pets or not. I feel like it's important to understand our animals to the best of our abilities if we're going to continue to have them as pets or have them in zoos, etc.