He’s no rat, he’s my brother | Science News

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He’s no rat, he’s my brother

Rodents exhibit empathy by setting trapped friends free

By
2:02pm, December 8, 2011

Calling someone a rat should no longer be considered an insult. The often maligned rodents go out of their way to liberate a trapped friend, a gregarious display that’s driven by empathy, researchers conclude in the Dec. 9 Science.

“As humans, we tend sometimes to have this feeling that there’s something special about our morals,” says neuroscientist Christian Keysers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam, who was not involved in the study. “It seems that even rats have this urge to help.”

As many pet rat owners know, rats are highly social animals, says study coauthor Inb

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