by , Keeper
Although a native tarheel, I came to the museum from Texas, where I taught Biology courses at a small college. In graduate school I studied the behavior and ecology of marine organisms (mostly crabs, lobsters and sea turtles).
You can find me in the Animal Department Monday-Thursday. Fridays I work for the Department of Innovation and Learning all day.

Big Word: Anthropomorphism

December 4th, 2007

Are owls really wise? Are raccoons nature’s bandits? Could a bear love some bears while disliking others?


These questions reflect the tendency of humans to attribute familiar emotions and intentions to animal species. The behavior, also known as anthropomorphism, springs from our desire to know the mental status of those around us. While this capacity usually serves us well at parties, scientists try to avoid anthropomorphizing about animal behavior. We can never really know if an animal is “sad” or “happy” but biologists can monitor animals for stress by assessing their food and water intake, noting their interactions with other animals, and recording their behavior over long periods.
Animal keepers at the Museum of Life and Science use these techniques and others to insure our animals live a “happy” life.

Join the conversation:

  1. Great blog!!

    Posted by Marilyn
  2. I think this is great Larry!What a nice way to teach a concept.

    Posted by Sherry
  3. I learned a lot!

    Posted by bucky
  4. I think my dog is happy

    Posted by subby

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