Morgan Tears 2.

Elaine Morgan (
Fri, 27 Oct 1995 11:35:54 GMT

- Question Two. Do land animals weep?

"It is a curious thing that man is the only creature who
weeps" (Natural Selection and the Origin and Evolution of
Weeping in Man, by Ashley Montague, in J.A.M.A. Vol 174, no 4,
p 130)

"I think it is very doubtful if any animal other than man
really weeps" (E.T. Collins, op.cit.p. 6.)

"I have often wondered why weeping with tears happens to be so
peculiarly human. So far as I have observed or learned with
assurance from reliable authorities, no other animal weeps."
(R.M. Yerkes, in Collins op. cit. p 8)

"Psychogenic tears, however, appear to be unique to man".
("Tears and the Lacrimal Gland, by Stella T. Botelho, in
Scientific American, October 1964. Cannot give page number, I
only have the offprint.)

The tears of "weeping" stags are sticky exudations, not from
the eyes, used for scent marking. Collins, quoted above, gives
a likely origin for the vague free-floating rumour that "some
bears" weep. It came from the Illustrated London News, Feb 21,
1931. An imaginative journalist quoted the owner of a bush
reserve for the "Kola (sic) Bear" and wrote ""When molested or
hurt it whimpers, and cries piteously like a child; tears roll
down its face, and it rubs its eyes with its forepaws."But the
owner allegedly quoted, Mr. Noel Burnett. later recorded: "The
statement that bears cry piteously, and that tears roll from
their eyes, is not altogether mine....occasionally a female
may be teased by a male, or we may have to take a female
against her will. or administer some veterinary attention in
which case the bear will certainly cry, but it is only a cry
of fear and not of pain, and I have noticed no tears."

William Frey reported that some dogs when parted from their
owners, are said (by the said owners) to have wept. But the
owners were the only witnesses and the phenomenon could not be
reproduced in the laboratory. Since the owners failed to give
page numbers I am sure JMD will be the first to dismiss their
claims out of hand.

I know of no statement from a scientist, with the exception of
the Fossey remark quoted earlier, that describes a land
animal, other than man and the elephant, weeping.

More to come....