Rafraîchissoir

By Shahed Nooshmand

What rats can teach us about empathy and racism

I wondered today if racism existed in animals too, and based on this very recent episode of UChicago’s podcast (from three months ago), it does.

It’s quite fascinating, and very brief too running just over 20 minutes. There’s even full transcript in case you don’t want to listen. Here’s just one amazing piece:

And so what we found was that if an albino rat, a white albino rat, had lived with a black cape rat, just one, he'd help any black cape rat. But if he had never seen a black Cape Rat before, he would never help black cape rat. So that was really quite amazing. But it suggests that there's this incredible effect of environment. And it really begs the question of whether there's any role for genetics. And that's how we got to what we call the Mogli experiment.

Now all we have to do is get rid of Shere Khan.