Science Makes Room for Compassionate Rodents

Once taboo among researchers, anthropomorphism doesn't look so bad anymore.

Warm hearted.

Photographer: DeAgostini/Getty Images

For all its apparent simplicity, a new experimental study showing that mouse-like rodents can be nice to each other now stands at the vanguard of a scientific revolution. The paper, published in the journal Science and promoted under the headline, “Empathy More Common in Animals than Thought,” could never have been published in the late 20th century, said University of Michigan psychologist Stephanie Preston. Not only would it have been rejected, she said, it would have been ridiculed.

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