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Sai Emrys wrote:
> On Nov 14, 2007 9:41 PM, Herman Miller <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> and their sensitivity to others' emotions is more finely developed.
> 
> Why?
> 
> (I've been reading up on neuroscience of empathy recently in prep for
> grad school, so you hit my subject-of-the-month. :-P)

Why are bluebirds blue? I'm sure there must ultimately be a cause, but I 
haven't considered it. It's just one of those facts about their biology; 
they can see ultraviolet light (but not red), they eat insects, they 
have three fingers and a thumb on each hand, their eyes are large. I 
could come up with a reason (e.g., their eyes are so large because their 
ancestors lived in caves), but I don't know anything much about 
neuroscience. Their heightened sense of empathy has been one of their 
defining features from the start, even before I started thinking about 
their languages and their music.

Is there anything about cave-dwelling that could be relevant? Their 
ancestors made their homes in caves to protect themselves from dragons. 
Perhaps the need to keep quiet while dragons were nearby encouraged the 
development of silent means of communication. Sangari, their nearest 
relatives, living without the threat of dragons, never developed this 
ability as fully.