Man Leaves $250,000 and Home to Cats, Not Relatives

While it may sound odd to leave such large sums of money to animals rather than relatives, our love of critters has evolutionary roots. When scientists at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California Los Angeles measured brain activity of people shown photos of animals — whether cute or dangerous — their amygdala, the portion of the brain associated with emotional reaction, lit up. Another study, conducted by Northeastern University, found that people feel more empathy toward an animal in distress than they do a human in the same situation.