It can be argued some animals are smarter than humans, but it can also be argued that humans are smarter than some animals. Be careful of which animals you talk about because Chimpanzees and Dolphins, for example can blow your mind out of the water with their intelligence and they are so much smarter than we are. But compare humans to say a Panda Bear or a Turkey, and we as humans are so much smarter.
Anthropomorphism, according to Literary Devices (2017) is defined as ‘a technique in which a writer ascribes human traits, ambitions, emotions or entire behaviour to animals, non-human beings, natural phenomena or objects’. For example: The tea pots, candle stick and clock in the Beauty and the Beast film act and behave as humans do, thus this is anthropomorphism. The word is derived from the Greeks as ‘Anthropos’ meaning ‘human’ and ‘morphe’ meaning ‘form’ therefore ‘human form’.
It’s evident if you spend a lot of time with an animal (one that doesn’t have short term memory loss, like a fish of course), they will grow attached to you, and you will grow attached to them if there is love and affection there. It is often evident with domesticated animals such as cats and dogs. Dogs especially will grow attached to you if you play and feed them frequently.
You can teach them tricks and tame them with treats which is an incentive to learn and obey their owner, this creates a special bond between the owner and the animal – one where emotion is felt and does not break easily. Kennedy S (2005), wrote an article “More than man’s best friend: a look at attachment between humans and their canine companions” which discovered that dogs can allow for social connections if the human is open to it. She wrote “people appear to look to companion animals for emotional comfort and understanding, rather than more pragmatic services. This shift signifies the belief that dogs can be fully functioning social companions” (Kennedy S, 2005).
Take the example of Christian the Lion. A lion cub raised by humans when he was found in a small cage not living life to the fullest. Anthony Bourke otherwise known as ‘Ace’ and John Rendall two Australians bought the cub in England in 1969. They raised the cub and called him Christian and when Christian was getting too big (and too expensive) they decided to return him to the wild in Kenya. Ace and John created a special bond with Christian and became emotionally attached. Even though a lion is considered a wild animal, there’s nothing stopping a human from having an emotional connection – especially when it is raised from a small cub.
Even though Christian was released into the wild in 1970, Ace and John still went back to visit Christian. Christian was living in the wild for a year after Ace and John decided to return and were aware of the huge risks. They could not be sure if Christian was going to remember them or attack them. As the video showed, the emotional bond between Christian the Lion and Ace and John his owners was still there years down the track as he greeted them with a big lion hug.
If the animal is older it makes it harder to connect with as they have already adopted their characteristics and personality. In the case of Christian the Lion and his owners, they were able to form a bond at a young age which kept strong even through years of separation. Kennedy S (2005) suggests in her study that humans can have special bonds with their animals (specifically dogs in her research), in which ‘they have been able to achieve a special type of communication and understanding between their companion and themselves.’ She also suggests ‘those who have never held strong emotional intimate relationships with other humans might claim the same.’ This comes down to our emotional intelligence and how we are able to connect and empathise with others which can be reflected in connections with animals.
If you have ever had a pet, you will know this bond that I am talking about. The bond where your dog is always excited to see you come home from your day out and when they are sad to see you leave.
Bourke A 2016, Christian’s Story – Moving to Kenya, viewed 29 March 2017, <http://www.alioncalledchristian.com.au/the-book/christians-story/#movingtokenya>.
Bourke A 2016, Welcome to a Lion called Christian, viewed 29 March 2017, <http://www.alioncalledchristian.com.au/>.
Kennedy S 2005, More than man ‘s best friend: A look at attachment between humans and their canine companions, University of South Florida, p. 1-11, 33-35.
Literary Devices, 2017, Anthropomorphism – Definition of Anthropomorphism, viewed 29 March 2017, <https://literarydevices.net/anthropomorphism/>.
SPFW21 (YouTube User) 2008, Christian the Lion, viewed 29 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btuxO-C2IzE>.