When did the first emotions of love, pain, anger, fear, etc happen

I was watching a PBS documentary a month or so ago that was talking about parenting. The narrator said something along the lines of ‘the first mother that acted like a mother occurred 150 million years ago’. I’m assuming it takes an emotion like ‘love’ to act like a mother. So I’m guessing in our evolutionary history, love is only 150~ million years old.

However, how do you even define love? Or hands for that matter. I’m sure there may have been a proto-love emotion, maybe a proto-fear or proto-humor emotion. There were protohands, so it is hard to pinpoint when ‘hands’ first developed. So I’m guessing there was a protolove, so I have no idea where to draw the line.

Do you need to be a mammal to have these emotions? Do other life forms have affect like we do?

When (times periods and which animals) did these emotions first arrive in? Can affective neuroscientists and evolutionary biologists pinpoint which animal and what time period experienced the first sense of humor, or the first experience of fear or emotion of brotherly love?

Does anyone know of any books on evolution and affective neuroscience that a person with the attention span of a weasel on meth would enjoy?

There are different evolutionary leaps the brain took. The most commonly referred to is the “reptilian” brain. This includes basic processes and is capable of very discrete emotion, like anger or pleasure. The reptilian brain is so referred to since it is made of the same organs as reptile brains. These organs are contained in the human brain, but do not compose the entire brain.

Different parts of the brain do different things, and the scientists researching about “150 m.y.a.” are probably estimating based on the different complexities of nodes in the brain, which control the emotion of love. More complexity=more time to evolve. How these emotions are connected to parts of the brain is commonly defined by MRI scans, while the patient experiences an emotion, therefore tracking blood movement to certain areas in the brain.

Whether love is an emotion, or more than that, is more philisophical.

There are plenty of species of animals that care for their young. Even insects do it. So the notion that motherly love first evolved 150 million years ago is just made up.

Of course there’s no way to determine when the first organisms capable of experiencing “love” or “fear” or “humor” evolved. But you need a fairly complicated brain and sensory apparatus to feel an emotion as simple as fear. Depending on how you define fear though, the first animal that could detect a predator coming and scoot out of the way was capable of “fear”.

One of the earliest proto-human skeletons showed signs of Hypervitaminosis (Excessive vitamin D, if I remember rightly, caused by eating animal livers). However, to get the point where it could be easily identified in the skeleton the she would have had to have been cared for by her family for far longer than an animal could have done (as she would have been far too ill to care for herself long before that).

That would be a pretty good starting point as to where regular animal behaviour becomes something closer to human emotion.

About once every 30 days around here.