There is a controversy about whether animals besides humans are
capable of empathy. It appears to me that scientists who think that
animals can empathize(sp??) are in the minority, with the majority of
scientists holding on to the ideology that only humans have such
My box turtle empathizes on a regular basis. When I am walking around
the room he is usually fine and ignores me. But if I take an interest
in him and look at him, he gets nervous and goes into his log to hide.
He knows that I "see" him. That's empathy. He is ware of my mental
state. I know this far from a scientific experiment, but I never tried
to have an experiment with him. I just noticed his behavior and found
it quite interesting.
Evolutionary theory would suggest that animals can empathize. It is
extremely adaptive to know if another being can "see" you or not.