Monday, September 24, 2007

Nature trumps nurture

Can't we all just get along? The loving bond that formed between two sets of baby tigers and orangutans -- both abandoned by their parents after birth -- became global news when pictures were released to the press. The tigers are too young to have developed a predatory instinct; for the orangutans, fear of large cats with larger teeth hasn't been introduced. Both too inexperienced to know their "proper" roles in nature, the animals prove that affection and friendship can cross all boundaries, no matter how hardwired. Maybe we should start raising our political leaders in similar environments.

The "best friends" will have to readjust once meat is introduced into the tigers' diet and their primate pals begin to smell tasty. Until then, however, these pairs demonstrate that cuddling is surely more instinctual than killing -- that one's learned later.

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