Giraffes Prefer a Fair Fight

Researchers found that the long-necked mammals spar with partners of similar stature.

#animal-behavior, #conservation-of-resources, #ethology-journal, #giraffes, #your-feed-science

Bruce Is a Parrot With a Broken Beak. So He Invented a Tool.

The bird is a kea from New Zealand, and his fabrication of an instrument to help him preen his feathers appears to be unique, researchers say.

#animal-behavior, #new-zealand, #parrots, #research, #rock-and-stone, #scientific-reports-journal, #tools, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Black Vulture Attacks on Animals May Be Increasing

But some bird experts say reports of increasing predation by black vultures in the Midwest may be overblown.

#agriculture-and-farming, #animal-behavior, #cattle, #fish-and-wildlife-service, #livestock, #vultures-birds, #your-feed-science

Searching for Bird Life in a Former ‘Ocean of Forest’

A century after museum collectors surveyed Colombia’s avian fauna, a new generation of researchers returns to see what remains, and what has changed.

#agriculture-and-farming, #american-museum-of-natural-history, #animal-behavior, #birds, #collectors-and-collections, #colombia, #forests-and-forestry, #genetics-and-heredity, #museums, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

I Can’t Stop Wondering What’s Going On Inside My Cat’s Head

How my new pets got me to consider life’s deepest mysteries.

#animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #animals, #artificial-intelligence, #cats, #descartes-rene, #dogs, #philosophy

Female Hummingbirds Avoid Harassment by Looking Like Males

Among white-necked Jacobin hummingbirds, those with plumage that resembles colors found on males get harassed less.

#animal-behavior, #current-biology-journal, #hummingbirds, #reproduction-biological, #research, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

‘Totally Surprising and Rather Horrifying’: Giant Tortoises Eat Baby Birds

For the first time, scientists in the Seychelles captured footage of one of the hulking reptiles stalking and killing a helpless chick.

#animal-behavior, #anna-zora, #birds, #current-biology-journal, #galapagos-islands, #hunting-and-trapping, #justin-gerlach, #research, #seychelles-islands, #turtles-and-tortoises, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Some Bat Pups Babble Just Like Human Babies

Pups of one bat species show a remarkable similarity to infants of our own species in the way they emit complex streams of syllables.

#animal-behavior, #bats, #costa-rica, #museum-of-natural-history-berlin-germany, #panama, #your-feed-science

When Sea Snakes Attack, Scientists Blame Sex Drive

Sea snakes aren’t angry when they aggressively swim at divers, scientists say. They’re just confused and looking to mate.

#animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #reproduction-biological, #scientific-reports-journal, #snakes, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

What Can We Learn From a Cat Charging Into a Baseball Game?

A demonstration of grace even in the most baffling of circumstances.

#animal-behavior, #baltimore-orioles, #baseball, #cats, #frontier-airlines-inc, #new-york-yankees, #victorias-secret

Squirrel Parkour Artists Are as Smart as They Are Athletic

Picking a launch spot, sticking a landing, throwing in a little parkour and recovering from mistakes: Squirrels do it all.

#animal-behavior, #science-journal, #squirrels, #university-of-california-berkeley, #university-of-nebraska, #your-feed-science

Mergers, twists, and pentagons: the architecture of honeycombs

Mergers, twists, and pentagons: the architecture of honeycombs

Enlarge

Bees manage some impressive feats. They not only remember the location of good food sources, but they’re able to communicate this information to their peers. They also care for the hive’s young and organize attacks against intruders.

They’re brilliant at construction, too. Almost every honeycomb in a hive is a perfect hexagon, with each side the same length. This is despite the fact that bees have to build hexagons of different sizes for workers and drones, and they often merge honeycombs started on opposite walls of the hive. How do they manage these complexities?

A new paper uses an automated image-analysis system to identify the different ways that bees manage these transitions. The researchers who made the system find that bees see issues coming in advance and start making smaller adjustments that, in the end, help avoid the need for larger changes.

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#animal-behavior, #bees, #behavioral-science, #biology, #honeycombs, #science

Australia’s Trash Parrots Invent New Skill in Suburbs

Sydney’s clever and adaptable sulfur-crested cockatoos learn how to pry open garbage bins by watching one another.

#animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #birds, #evolution-biology, #parrots, #research, #science-journal, #sydney-australia, #waste-materials-and-disposal, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Cats Are Better Than Dogs (at Catching the Coronavirus)

Cats and dogs can be infected by the coronavirus — but cats are more susceptible to infection, a new study suggests.

#animal-behavior, #animals, #cats, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dogs, #pets, #veterinary-medicine, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

Grizzly Bear Suspected in Fatal Attack in Montana Is Killed

Wildlife officials believe the bear was the same grizzly that killed a California woman on Tuesday, given the proximity to the attack and evidence found at both scenes.

#animal-behavior, #bears, #california, #deaths-fatalities, #grizzly-bears, #leah-davis, #national-parks-monuments-and-seashores, #wyoming

Did a Cuttlefish Write This?

Octopuses and squid are full of cephalopod character. But more scientists are making the case that cuttlefish hold the key to unlocking evolutionary secrets about intelligence.

#animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #cuttlefish, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #memory, #octopus, #research, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

When an Eel Climbs a Ramp to Eat Squid From a Clamp, That’s a Moray

Moray eels can hunt on land, and footage from a recent study highlights how they accomplish this feat with a sneaky second set of jaws.

#animal-behavior, #eels, #journal-of-experimental-biology, #mouth, #research, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

We pee or flush drugs into waterways—does that matter to aquatic life?

Image of a crayfish crawling.

Enlarge (credit: National Park Service)

When people flush their old prescription (or off-prescription) drugs, the compounds invariably make their way into the waters nearby. The same is true even when people using these chemicals urinate them into the sewage system. Once there, these compounds—from prozac to cocaine—can end up in the bodies of aquatic creatures. And, research suggests, the chemicals can impact them: birth control, for instance, affects frog breeding after it enters the water.

We metabolize many of the drugs we take, and water treatment plants remove some of rest. But some concentration can still remain as the water is released to the surrounding lakes and streams.

So far, there’s not been much research into how, if at all, other drugs like cocaine and various opioids, affect aquatic life—but scientists say negative effects are not wholly impossible. And there is now some evidence that at least some classification of drugs do cause trouble. New research suggests that a common antidepressant, citalopram, can change the behavior of crayfish, making them bolder than they would be otherwise.

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#animal-behavior, #antidepressants, #crayfish, #fentanyl, #pharmaceutical, #science, #shrimp, #waste-water

Zoos Are Bad for Animals

Many of them aspire to be good civic institutions that care for animals on their grounds and in the wild. But is it really worth their captivity?

#animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animal-behavior, #animals, #assn-of-zoosaquariums, #biodiversity, #breeding-of-animals, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #zoos

For Wildlife, It’s Nursery Season. Please Don’t Steal Their Babies.

We were a team, this baby bird and me, and if I didn’t know how foolish it would be to keep it, I totally would have kept it.

#animal-behavior, #birds, #environment

Your dog’s desire to communicate with you just might be in the genes

Gimme five! New University of Arizona study finds puppies are wired to communicate with people. "There's definitely a strong genetic component, and they're definitely doing it from the get-go."

Enlarge / Gimme five! New University of Arizona study finds puppies are wired to communicate with people. “There’s definitely a strong genetic component, and they’re definitely doing it from the get-go.” (credit: Anita Kot/Getty Images)

That special social bond between dogs and humans might be a genetic trait that evolved as dogs became domesticated and diverged from wolves, according to a new study published in the journal Current Biology, looking at the cognitive and behavioral social skills of hundreds of adorable puppies.

“People have been interested in dogs’ abilities to do these kinds of things for a long time, but there’s always been debate about to what extent is this really in the biology of dogs, versus something they learn by palling around with humans,” said co-author Evan MacLean, director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “We found that there’s definitely a strong genetic component, and they’re definitely doing it from the get-go.”

His co-author, Emily Bray, an anthropology postdoc at the university, has spent the last ten years studying how dogs think and solve problems, in conjunction with Canine Companions, a California-based service dog organization catering to people with disabilities. It’s known that human children can reason about the physical world, and have sufficient social cognitive skills for cooperative communication by the age of two-and-a-half years. But according to the authors, there is also a growing body of research showing evidence that domesticated dogs share similar social cognitive skills, although possible biological bases for those abilities had not been tested.

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#animal-behavior, #animals, #anthropology, #biology, #cognitive-science, #puppies, #science

What Has Four Legs, a Trunk and a Behavioral Database?

From tens of thousands of hours of observation, scientists have compiled a detailed library of African elephant behavior.

#africa, #animal-behavior, #elephants, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #gorongosa-national-park-mozambique, #kenya, #malawi, #mozambique, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Elephant Trunks: Is There Anything They Can’t Do?

A new study highlights the impressive biomechanics and suction power of an elephant’s most defining appendage.

#anatomy-and-physiology, #animal-behavior, #conservation-of-resources, #elephants, #journal-of-the-royal-society-interface, #research, #robots-and-robotics, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Scientists Drove Mice to Bond by Zapping Their Brains With Light

The study, a tour de force in bioengineering, comes after two decades of research on brain-to-brain synchrony in people.

#animal-behavior, #animals, #anxiety-and-stress, #brain, #cell-journal, #light-emitting-diodes, #nature-journal, #nature-neuroscience-journal, #wireless-communications, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

No, People Are Not Returning Pandemic Dogs in Droves

Despite alarmist headlines, the happy truth is most people are keeping their newly adopted pets, animal welfare groups say.

#abandonment-property, #animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animal-behavior, #anxiety-and-stress, #cats, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dogs, #petpoint, #pets, #quarantine-life-and-culture

Why Do Humans Feed So Many Animals?

Researchers want to learn more about the connections between humans and the feeding of birds, beasts and other fauna.

#animal-behavior, #archaeology-and-anthropology, #birds, #cats, #delhi-india, #dogs, #great-britain, #isotopes, #monkeys-and-apes, #pet-foods, #pets, #rome-italy, #your-feed-science, #zoos

The Price They Pay for Your Perfect Vacation Photo

Scientists are concerned about unregulated feeding of ocean wildlife by tour operators.

#animal-behavior, #australia, #bahama-islands, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #greece, #marine-biology, #philippines, #photography, #research, #sharks, #travel-and-vacations, #turtles-and-tortoises, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Meet the Other Social Influencers of the Animal Kingdom

Culture, once considered exclusive to humans, turns out to be widespread in nature.

#animal-behavior, #animals, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #monkeys-and-apes, #science-journal, #whales-and-whaling, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science, #zambia

What cats’ love of boxes and squares can tell us about their visual perception

Like most cats, nothing delights Ariel more than an empty box in which to lounge. This might tell us something about feline visual perception of shapes and contours, per a new study in Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Enlarge / Like most cats, nothing delights Ariel more than an empty box in which to lounge. This might tell us something about feline visual perception of shapes and contours, per a new study in Applied Animal Behaviour Science. (credit: Sean Carroll)

It is a truth universally acknowledged—at least by those of the feline persuasion—that an empty box on the floor must be in want of a cat. Ditto for laundry baskets, suitcases, sinks, and even cat carriers (when not used as transport to the vet). This behavior is generally attributed to the fact that cats feel safer when squeezed into small spaces, but it might also be able to tell us something about feline visual perception. That’s the rationale behind a new study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science with a colorful title: “If I fits I sits: A citizen science investigation into illusory contour susceptibility in domestic cats (Felis silvers catus).”

The paper was inspired in part by a 2017 viral Twitter hashtag, #CatSquares, in which users posted pictures of their cats sitting inside squares marked out on the floor with tape—kind of a virtual box. The following year, lead author Gabriella Smith, a graduate student at Hunter College (CUNY) in New York City, attended a lecture by co-author Sarah-Elizabeth Byosiere, who heads the Thinking Dog Center at Hunter. Byosiere studies canine behavior and cognition, and she spoke about dogs’ susceptibility to visual illusions.  While playing with her roommate’s cat later that evening, Smith recalled the Twitter hashtag and wondered if she could find a visual illusion that looked like a square to test on cats.

Smith found it in the work of the late Italian psychologist and artist Gaetano Kanizsa, who was interested in illusory (subjective) contours that visually evoke the sense of an edge in the brain even if there isn’t really a line or edge there. The Kanizsa square consists of four objects shaped like Pac-Man, oriented with the “mouth” facing inward to form the four corners of a square. Even better, there was a 1988 study that used the Kanizsa square to investigate the susceptibility of two young female cats to illusory contours. The study concluded that, yes, cats are susceptible to the Kanizsa square illusion, suggesting that they perceive subjective contours much like humans.

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#animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #catsquare-challenge, #domestic-cats, #kanizsa-illusion, #science

Why Grumpy Dogs Outperform Friendly Ones on Some Learning Tests

Dogs that would not be the first choice of many pet owners do better than some of the more agreeable fellows when they have to learn from a stranger.

#animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #budapest-hungary, #dogs, #oregon-state-university, #udell-monique-a-r, #university-of-pennsylvania, #working-dog-center, #your-feed-science

Does Your Pet Have Separation Anxiety? Or Do You?

If you’re going back to work, and leaving your furry companion, we want to hear from you.

#animal-behavior, #internal-essential, #pets

Some Male Birds Fly Under False Colors to Attract Mates, Study Suggests

Elaborate feather microstructures allow male tanagers to enhance their colors, making them seem as if they are higher quality mates.

#animal-behavior, #birds, #color, #evolution-biology, #feathers, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Grizzly Bear Fatally Mauls a Backcountry Guide Near Yellowstone Park

When the bear charged at Montana officials who were investigating the attack, they shot and killed it.

#animal-behavior, #bears, #deaths-fatalities, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fish-and-wildlife-service, #idaho, #montana, #national-parks-monuments-and-seashores

A Bobcat Attacks, and a Husband Swings Into Action

Kristi Wade credits her husband, Happy Wade, with saving her life when a rabid bobcat attacked her in their North Carolina driveway.

#animal-behavior, #animals, #burgaw-n-c, #cats, #north-carolina, #rabies

Turn the Lights Out. Here Come the Birds.

Buildings, landmarks and monuments are turning off lights to prevent fatal impacts as birds set off on spring migration.

#academy-of-natural-sciences, #animal-behavior, #animal-migration, #audubon-society-national, #birds, #canada, #conservation-of-resources, #cornell-lab-of-ornithology, #dallas-tex, #florida, #fort-worth-tex, #lighting, #new-york-city, #windows

In Haifa, Israel, Wild Boars Encroach on Human Turf

Groups of boars have become an unavoidable presence in Haifa. Some human residents are charmed, but others are annoyed or frightened and now carry sticks on walks.

#animal-behavior, #haifa-israel, #israel, #pigs

Born to Be Lazy? What Bears Can Teach Us About Our Exercise Habits

Scientists have found that grizzlies, like people, seem to choose the path of least resistance.

#animal-behavior, #bears, #content-type-service, #exercise, #journal-of-experimental-biology, #navigation, #washington-state-university, #wilderness-areas, #yellowstone-national-park

‘The Angriest Octopus’ Lashes at a Tourist on an Australian Beach

In a widely shared video, a lunging octopus in Australia earned a mild response from the man being targeted by an arm: “Oh, golly.”

#animal-behavior, #australia, #lance-karlson, #octopus

Can We Learn Anything From Horses?

Equus offers life-changing “attunement” through the medium of horses. But how?

#animal-behavior, #bezos-jeffrey-p, #horses, #midler-bette, #santa-fe-nm, #travel-and-vacations

The Mansion Is Closed Because of Covid. No One Told the Deer.

Barrington Court, a grand estate in England that was a filming site for “Wolf Hall,” has been shut to visitors for much of the last year — human visitors, that is.

#animal-behavior, #bats, #butterflies-and-moths, #deer, #flowers-and-plants, #gardens-and-gardening, #henry-viii-king-of-england, #historic-buildings-and-sites, #mantel-hilary, #national-trust-group-england, #palaces-and-castles, #shutdowns-institutional

The Family Dog Is in Sync With Your Kids

Dogs orient and move in synchrony with family members, which may have implications for the emotional development of people and pets.

#animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #animal-cognition-journal, #children-and-childhood, #dogs, #emotions, #exercise, #oregon-state-university, #pets, #research, #udell-monique-a-r, #youth

Meet the Sea Slugs That Chop Off Their Heads and Grow New Bodies

Their severed heads get around just fine until they regenerate perfectly functioning, parasite-free new bodies, scientists say.

#anatomy-and-physiology, #animal-behavior, #current-biology-journal, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #healing, #research, #your-feed-science

The Power of Playing Dead

A study shows that pretending to be immobile — sometimes for an hour or more — helps larvae of insects called antlions outlast hungry predators.

#animal-behavior, #biology-and-biochemistry, #biology-letters-journal, #evolution-biology, #insects, #research, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Largest Glowing Shark Species Discovered Near New Zealand

It’s the biggest bioluminescent vertebrate found on land or sea, so far.

#animal-behavior, #biology-and-biochemistry, #frontiers-in-marine-science-journal, #hormones, #light, #new-zealand, #research, #sharks, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Cuttlefish can pass the marshmallow test

An aquatic invertebrate similar to a squid floats in an aquarium.

Enlarge / A common cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis, in the Marine Resources Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. A new study finds the cuttlefish can delay gratification—a key feature of the famous “marshmallow test.” (credit: Alexandra Schnell)

Certain species show a remarkable ability to delay gratification, notably great apes, corvids, and parrots, while other species do not (such as rodents, chickens, and pigeons.) Add the cuttlefish to the former category.

Scientists administered an adapted version of the Stanford marshmallow test to cuttlefish and found the cephalopods could delay gratification—that is, wait a bit for preferred prey rather than settling for a less desirable prey. Cuttlefish also performed better in a subsequent learning test, according to a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. It’s the first time such a link between self-control and intelligence has been found in a non-mammalian species.

As we’ve previously reported, the late Walter Mischel’s landmark behavioral study involved 600 kids between the ages of four and six, all culled from Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School. He would give each child a marshmallow and give them the option of eating it immediately if they chose. But if they could wait 15 minutes, they would get a second marshmallow as a reward. Then Mischel would leave the room, and a hidden video camera would tape what happened next.

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#animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #biology, #cephalopods, #convergent-evolution, #cuttlefish, #marshmallow-test, #science

Got a Pandemic Puppy? Learn How to Prevent Dog Bites

With new puppies and kids at home, doctors are worried about treating more children for dog bites.

#animal-behavior, #animals, #children-and-childhood, #content-type-service, #dogs, #emergency-medical-treatment, #parenting, #veterinary-medicine

Octopuses Have a Secret Sense to Keep Their 8 Arms Out of Trouble

Even when an octopus can’t see light with its eyes, its arms seem to know it is there.

#animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #journal-of-experimental-biology, #light, #octopus, #research, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

The People Who Got Puppies Were in Over Their Heads

Now professional dog trainers are all booked up. While you wait, they have some advice to share.

#animal-behavior, #dogs

Goats Don’t Vote

While some animals that rove in groups appear to cast a form of ballot about directions, goats mostly copy each other.

#animal-behavior, #goats, #namibia, #navigation, #research, #royal-society-open-science-journal, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

How an Eight-Sided ‘Egg’ Ended Up in a Robin’s Nest

An experiment by evolutionary biologists offers new insights into birds’ brains.

#3-d-printers, #animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #birds, #eggs, #royal-society-open-science-journal, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science