Question: What have you learned about animals so far that you think the world doesn't know about yet?

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  1. @carissa12: Ooooh – that’s a good question! One of the newest things that science is working to understand more is animal ‘affective states’ – which is talking about animal emotions. We’re learning that they can be optimistic (always look on the bright side of life) or pessimistic (a bit doom and gloom in attitude) and this is impacting on how we can assess the ways we look after them and improve their welfare.

    A lot of people might be surprised to know that scientists will talk about an animal being able to feel happy. It’s something in the past that might have been called ‘anthropomorphism’ (giving human qualities to an animal). I’m not saying your dog feels guilty (they don’t – they’re just reacting to our body language), but we’re getting better every day about being able to design experiments to help us learn more about animal affective states. I think this will gain more attention in the future as it might impact on public perception of some farming practices.