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Anthrozoology is the study of animal-human relationships, a relatively new field of scientific inquiry. Although it is an interdisciplinary field that can encompass many disciplines such as medicine, zoology, psychology, anthropology, and veterinary medicine, it is mostly known to the general public for the popularized studies in the last two decades that purport to find benefits, both psychological and physical, for those humans who have pets or "companion animals" or sometimes merely interact with some specific animals, such as swimming with dolphins. The claimed benefits may, depending on the study or the popularized book, include longer lifespan, better general health, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and more general happiness. [1] Numerous other studies, however, contradict these claims; skeptics believe that while there may indeed be verifiable benefits that humans derive from the company of animal companions, the study of the evidence and the examination of these claims has not yet been made in scientifically rigorous fashion.


  1. "Fido's No Doctor. Neither Is Whiskers." by Hal Herzog on the Op-ed page of the January 4, 2011, New York Times at [1]