Marc Bekoff picks up the replica black bear head and stares intently into its eyes. 'Wow, this is so real,' he says. He should know, having just returned from a volunteer stint at the Animals Asia Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Sichuan . Dr Bekoff worked with abused moon bears, rescued from bear farms on the mainland where they were held captive for years. The bears, like human prisoners, needed to be re-socialised after such abuse. He said he could tell they were 'depressed'. 'You can read an animal's emotions by its eyes, you know,' he said. But to Dr Bekoff, this means more than just happy or sad. 'Animals have the same range of emotions as humans - they feel embarrassment, jealousy, resentment, joy,' says the scientist from Colorado, US. Like humans, animal brains have an area called the amygdala, the control centre for emotions. 'Emotions might feel different to each animal, just like they feel different from person to person,' he says. This makes animals as individual as humans. 'Dogs make judgments just as humans do. They pick out the people they feel more comfortable with, just like humans do,' Dr Bekoff says. 'Cats on average are less social but they can be very social, too, depending on how they're raised.' The idea that animals have emotions is only about 10 years old. Before that, Dr Bekoff says people were sceptical of his beliefs, but these days 'all the scientific research done today is supporting what we knew'. This has had significant implications on issues such as the way animal testing is conducted, how animals are handled during experiments, or even whether they should be kept in cages at zoos. Recently, after giving a lecture in a Taiwanese university, Dr Bekoff says the biology professor changed the way he used animals in class experiments. 'In Asia, people, and especially children, are becoming really interested in animals,' he adds. Dr Bekoff has studied dogs and other animals for more than 30 years, mostly by taping and watching hundreds of dogs interacting. He has written 21 books about unusual, but oddly believable, animal behaviour. His latest book, Animals at Play, is a children's book illustrating how animals adopt fair rules when playing with each other. He says it's being used in some moral instruction classes in the United States. Dr Bekoff believes 'kids read animals better than adults'. 'They've always known animals had deep emotions,' he says. 'But I think they lose a lot of their heart and emotions as they grow older because they're not really supposed to feel that way about animals.'