How can this extraordinary behaviour be explained? A humble hound labours to splash water over fish which he knows will die without their protective environment. It seems his deepest instinct is to preserve the life of others, even that of a different species. We will struggle to deny that this is an example of pure empathy, and even benevolence. Such examples will come as a shock to many scientists, philosophers and psychiatrists who have mainly focused on the mapping of human minds. The next step is to admit that the animal world shares with us many instincts or emotions, and in many cases they surpass us in loyalty, intelligent understanding, ingenuity and altruistic self-sacrifice. Humans have won the evolution game, but arguably at the cost of finer beings who carry the flame of true nobility. Australian aborigines still believe they can learn from nature’s very stones and rocks, as well as from the living creatures interacting with the earth’s face.

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