Free Trapped Friends, Hint at Universal Empathy: ‘With a few liberating swipes of their paws, a group of research rats freed trapped labmates and raised anew the possibility that empathy isn’t unique to humans and a few extra-smart animals, but is widespread in the animal world.
Though more studies are needed on the rats’ motivations, it’s at least plausible they demonstrated “empathically motivated pro-social behavior.” People would generally call that helpfulness, or even kindness.
“Rats help other rats in distress. That means it’s a biological inheritance,” said neurobiologist Peggy Mason of the University of Chicago. “That’s the biological program we have.” ‘ (via Wired.com).