Tears - 1 of 2

J. Moore (j#d#.moore@canrem.com)
Sat, 21 Oct 95 12:18:00 -0500

Tears: 1 of 2

"Until evidence of other animals shedding emotional tears is well
documented, I will continue to maintain that emotional tearing
generally occurs only in humans. I agree with Montagu's view that
'the shedding of tears as an accompaniment to emotional distress
has been attributed to other animals... The truth, however, appears
to be that while some of these animals may on occasion exhibit the
evidences of tears, this occurs very seldom, and is the exception
rather than the rule. ...Psychic weeping is not known to occur as
a normal function in any animal other than man.'"
(William H. Frey 1985: 147. *Crying: The Mystery of Tears*
by William H. Frey, Ph.D. with Muriel Langseth.
Minneapolis: Winston Press.)

Some of you may recognise the name of the quotee above; he's the
guy Elaine Morgan refers to as "a leading present-day authority on
the subject" (Morgan 1990: 98, *The Scars of Evolution*). Dr. Frey
has done studies of emotional tears (these are the studies that
Ralph Holloway was trying to remember a few weeks back) which
Morgan feels support her theory. The reason she feels it supports
her is rather inexplicable, it turns out, once you look at the
evidence (shades of the "Morgan cites Denton" episode).

I've divided this post, for reasons of length, into two parts:
this first part is specifically on evidence for emotional tears in
non-human animals. The second deals with tears and what they
contain, and what this means in regard to the likelihood of tears
being an excretion system.

Do Animals Shed Emotional Tears?

This is the title of chapter 14 in William Frey's book (Morgan
cited it in *The Scars of Evolution* but left off the main title,
leaving only the sub-title, and also left off Frey's co-writer).
In it Frey looks at evidence, both scientific and anecdotal, for
emotional tearing in non-human animals. His conclusion opened
this post.

>From Frey's Chapter 14: Do Animals Shed Emotional Tears?

pp. 135-139:
*Some Scientists Say Animals Cry Tears*

In this section Frey mentions "several reports of animals shedding
emotional tears -- or what were interpeted as emotional tears --
in the scientific literature cannot be ignored."

Frey opens with Darwin's reports of tears in Indian elephants.
Frey also points out the information that AATers never seem to
mention (even though it appears on the same page of Darwin's
*Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals*); that Darwin
reported contrary information from his correspondents in Ceylon,
where observations of recently captured elephants showed no
tearing, and "the native hunters asserted they had never
observed elephants weeping".

Then Frey continues with reports of other animals shedding tears:
dogs and wolves (Cecil Reynolds 1925); seal (Ronald M. Lockley
1966 *Grey Seal, Common Seal*); sea otter (Georg W. Stellar);
lab rats (red tears from Harderian glands [the same types of glands
that elephants have]) (John E. Harkness and Marcella D. Ridgeway);
and gorilla (Dian Fossey 1983 *Gorillas in the Mist*).

Note that already we see a mix of aquatic and non-aquatic animals
mentioned; this will be a repeating theme, as you'll see. Another
recurring theme, and the reason Frey ultimately does not accept
these reports as documented, is that none of these reports, indeed
none of the "pro-tears" reports, have any means of determining
that these tears are due to emotion rather than stress or
irritation. In any event, this already destroys the AAT claim
that only aquatic animals have been reported shedding emotional
tears (and it should be noted that this book was cited by Morgan,
who somehow managed to skip all the reports of non-aquatic

pp. 139-141:
*What Animal Experts Say*

In this section, Frey and his co-writer sent out questionaires to
zoos, animal parks, and marine parks, veterinarians, etc., to see
if any of them reported ever seeing emotional tears in nonhuman

Brian Davies, "an animal protectionist and executive director of
the International Fund for Animal Welfare" (he's written two books
protesting the harp seal hunts in Canada) says yes for seals.
Wayne Franzen, trainer of Okha (an Indian elephant), and co-owner
of Franzen Brothers Circus, says yes for Indian elephant.

Ian Douglas-Hamilton, "who has done extensive studies of African
elephants replied, 'I cannot say that I observed emotional tears
in African elephants, although I have seen tears appear when they
have been shot or wounded. It is possible that these may be
related to emotion, but I am sorry to say I really do not have
enough observation in this to say one way or the other'."

Frederick A. King, director of Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta
and survey of 5 experienced primate scientists there say no.

The following experts were asked "(1) Have you ever seen nonhuman
animals shed emotional tears? and (2) Do you know of any documented
evidence of nonhuman animals shedding emotional tears?"
Saul Kitchener, director of the San Francisco Zoological Park;
R.M. McNorman, assistant curator of mammals, Bronx Zoo;
G. Styfer, overseer at the Toronto Zoological Park;
Donald L. Jansen, DVM, associate veterinarian at the San Diego
Wild Animal Park; Sanford Friedman, curator and chairman of mammal
department at the Brookfield Zoological Park in Illinois "all
responded no to both questions".

"Veterinarians and animal trainers who have worked extensively with
seals, dolphins, and whales at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, the
Seaquarium in Miami, Florida, Marineland in Los Angelos,
California, and the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota" all said
no. As they report, "seals, dolphins, and whales secrete a watery
mucus to protect their eyes from sea water. The overflow of tears
due to lack of a drainage system may have been misconstrued as
emotional tears".

pp. 141-146:
*Other Reports of Animals' Tears*

Finally, since his earlier work was written about in *Psychology
Today*, Frey has gotten many anecdotal reports about pets or other
animals shedding tears. These animals include dogs, cats, cows,
pigs, lambs, horse, and a kangaroo.


So we can see that there is every bit as much, and as little,
evidence for non-aquatic animals shedding emotional tears as there
is for aquatic animals. This is contrary to the claims we have
heard repeatedly in this newsgroup, and contrary to Morgan's
claims in print. We also see still more evidence of Morgan's style,
deliberately burying contrary evidence that is in a book which she
cites. (Unless we are to believe that when she read Frey's book,
she didn't read the chapter entitled "Do Animals Shed Emotional
Tears?" -- does *anyone* believe that's likely?)

"Tears: 2 of 2" follows shortly.

Jim Moore (j#d#.moore@canrem.com)

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