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See Inside February/March 2006

Do Animals Have Feelings?

Animal lovers insist their fellow creatures experience joy, sympathy, fear and grief, but scientifically, it is hard to say

On the dusty horizon, two troops of elephants emerge 100 yards apart and walk toward each other. The beasts trumpet loudly, flap their ears and turn in circles. They seem to know one another--the whole event appears to be a family reunion.

Anyone who travels the African savanna is apt to have witnessed such a meeting. In her decades of fieldwork, Joyce H. Poole, research director for the Amboseli Trust for Elephants in Kenya, has watched similar encounters many times. "These elephants," the biologist says with conviction, "are happy to see their old friends and acquaintances."

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