Frans de waal on moral behaviour in animals.
The argument being that animals also display cooperative behaviour and empathy.
Irrespective of this argument, there are problems with the talk. Most of the animals have been trained to perform those behaviours.
Chimps and bonobos who display reconciliation behaviour - Isn't reconciliatory behaviour mostly linked to dominance? Yes. But how different is that to humans, you say? Maybe not very different. But our culture and cognition means we need to view reconciliation differently. In any case, dominance should have been mentioned in the talk. And if not, De Waal should have at least mentioned that cooperation in chimps differs from cooperation in humans.
Chimps cooperating to pull a reward - The partner could be motivated by fear. I need more information.
Elephants cooperating to pull a reward - Again, the elephants are trained to use the apparatus. This does not reflect instinctive cooperative behaviour, rather that one elephant is smart enough to learn that he doesn't need to do any work on his part to get a reward. I can just imagine that elephant doing that trial over and over again till he realises he will still get a reward if he just places his foot on the rope. And the fact that the partner does not get any reward also needs to be remembered. How long would the partner keep this up if it wasn't being instructed to by a mahout? This isn't really cooperation as we know it.
Chimps and contagious yawning - Firstly, can we really connect yawning with empathy? If so, what part does dominance and gender play in this experiment?
Children empathising with adults - You can't compare children and adults because of dominance again. Would children show similar empathy towards other children?
Prosocial choices by chimps - Again, no control for dominance and gender? A chimp might be prosocial because of dominance, not empathy. Yes, this could be considered one interpretation of what constitutes empathy to begin with, but it must be stressed that this is very different from human empathy, where we put ourselves in someone's else's place and see things from their perspective. Do animals do this? Or is their empathy more basic, if they have any at all?
Capuchins reject unequal pay - This is more about a sense of fairness. Not really empathy.
I have no doubt that many animals have a sense of empathy, but their empathy tends to differ from that of humans. Empathy, like many other things, is a continuum & we seem to be on a different part of this continuum than animals.
If we could devise a series of experiments to show that this complex empathy of ours is really no more than a cover for a more basic reaction with adaptationary value, then I'm wrong, but this hasn't been indicated yet.