The English engineer Hugh Loving did not want to tell his sons in his speeches about the horrors of the First World War he was fighting at that time, so he created for them fictional adventures in which he tried to escape with them from the terrifying reality of mankind to the oases of the animal world.
Thus was born a hero of novels and films, Dr. Doolittle who abandoned his patients from humans to learn the languages of animals from his prostitution, and to learn from animals a lot about the nature of this world and its true history
What the pout says
And it seems that the fans of Dr. Doolittle have grown up to join the ancient human endeavor to understand the animal language, and among them the research team that recently published in the Scientific Reports a study in which they tried to understand more of the language of cats.
The researchers used to observe cat responses to different pain levels, using what is known as a “frown scale,” a series of successive images that illustrate what an animal looks like while experiencing feelings of pain in its degrees.
The design of this scale began with mice first, but scientists soon had similar measures for other animals, including rabbits, pigs, sheep, and horses. It was remarkable that pain cramps resembled a lot despite the difference in creatures, the eyes were narrowing, the mouths were shrinking and the ears were tense and twisted backward.
“One of the problems we face is our tendency to see the faces of animals and interpret their cysts in our eyes whose experiences relate to reading the traits of human faces, not paying attention to the big differences between the muscles of human faces and their counterparts at,” says researcher at the University of Nottingham Trent, “Lauren Finca”, which specializes in animal behavior and participation in the study.
However, some animals pose a greater challenge to humans in realizing what their facial expressions say, such as cats, for example, where cats keep their secrets, and when experiencing pain, they tend to withdraw quietly without a loud expression.
That is why it has become known in research circles that trying to measure the very subtle changes in the cat’s features when in pain is a painful and difficult task in itself.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons that prompted the researchers to resort to artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, as did the research team in this study, which dealt with nearly a thousand pictures of the faces of cats and the changes they experience when their muscles contract or relax due to the pain caused by undergoing various surgeries. It has been observed that the feeling of pain is associated with the appearance of the following:
Slowly slide the nose down toward the mouth, noting its slight tendency to the left.
Hold both ears and spacing them apart, noting that the right ear contraction is more severe, and it hangs more to the side of the face.
The mouth and cheeks appear slightly smaller than normal, closer to the nose and retracting to the eyes.
Of course, the presence of Dr. Doolittle in our world is still much closer to fiction, but this study – and what comes next – carries a promise that we will one day have a phone application – perhaps bearing the name of Doolittle – that scans the image of your cat’s face to tell you the truth of his feelings, and perhaps more than that!