If Panksepp is right, his rats could, in effect, be laughing in the faces of those scientists who, he says, still “deem the emotional feelings of animals to be outside the bounds of empirical measurement.”
Human being like the idea that we are somehow different and disconnected from all the other species on the planet. As such, we have genetic superiority and moral authority over the earth and its creatures and are entitled to act as we please.
Science is steadily disproving such notions. In fact, the better we understand both human and animal brains, the more it seems we have in common with our fellow Terrans. If anything, it's our unconscious need to distinguish that gives cause for our conscious tendency to label.
Have you ever noticed that we anthropomorphize animals to relate to them, naming our pets and calling them "part of the family":
And dehumanize people, taking away their names and calling them "vermin" or "dogs" or referring to them as children to mistreat them: