Tag Archives: Behaviour (Ethology)

Radar reveals the hidden secrets of wombat warrens

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For the first time ever, researchers from the University of Adelaide have been able to non-invasively study the inner workings of wombat warrens, with a little help from ground-penetrating radar. Despite being the faunal emblem of South Australia, very little is known about the burrowing habits of the southern hairy-nosed wombat. As part of a […]

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You scratch my back and I might scratch yours: The grooming habits of wild chimpanzees

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Bystanders can influence the way adult male chimpanzees establish grooming interactions according to research by anthropologists at the University of Kent. The results challenge existing theories and bring into question the long-held assumption that patterns of social interactions in chimpanzees and other primates reflect relationships that themselves indicate a level of trust between individuals. The […]

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Inhibitory control may affect physical problem solving in pet dogs

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Inhibitory control may be an indicator of a dog’s ability to solve a problem, according to a study published February 10, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Corsin Müller from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna and colleagues. Playing with objects may help dogs learn about their environment, similar to how it helps […]

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Cats domesticated in China earlier than 3000 BC

Were domestic cats brought to China over 5,000 years ago? Or were small cats domesticated in China at that time? There was no way of deciding between these two hypotheses until a team from the ‘Archéozoologie, Archéobotanique: Sociétés, Pratiques et Environnements’ laboratory (CNRS/MNHN), in collaboration with colleagues from the UK and China, succeeded in determining […]

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Dog DNA probed for clues to human psychiatric ills

Pet project hunts genetic links to behaviour by polling owners on their companions’ quirks. Heidi Ledford. Tail-chasing in dogs is suspected to share genetic roots with human obsessive–compulsive disorder. Addie plays hard for an 11-year-old greater Swiss mountain dog — she will occasionally ignore her advanced years to hurl her 37-kilogram body at an unwitting […]

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* Researchers’ preclinical trial upends conventional wisdom about responses to fear

In a new study researchers found that female rats often respond to fear by ‘darting.’ For more than a century scientists have recognized ‘freezing’ as the natural fear response. But in a new study found that female rats often respond to fear by ‘darting.’ The findings not only raise questions about the veracity of previous […]

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Small birds prefer flying in company

Until now, scientists had observed that some large birds are sociable amongst each other. However, a new study has confirmed that this unique characteristic can also be seen among smaller birds such as the Eurasian siskin, a bird which is able to form bonds that last for a number of years as well as travel […]

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You can teach an old dog new tricks, but younger dogs learn faster

The effect of aging on cognitive processes such as learning, memory and logical reasoning have so far been studied almost exclusively in people. Using a series of touchscreen tests, Lisa Wallis and Friederike Range of the Messerli Research Institute at Vetmeduni Vienna have now studied these domains in pet dogs of varying ages. The study […]

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Logging helps black rats invade rainforests

Logging can encourage black rats to invade tropical rainforests by creating habitats they prefer, giving them the chance to displace native mammals. Logging stresses animals living in tropical rainforests by disrupting and removing some of their habitat, but a new study shows that logging can cause further problems for the forests’ inhabitants — by providing […]

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Brazilian torrent frogs communicate using sophisticated audio, visual signals

Brazilian torrent frogs may use sophisticated audio and visual signals to communicate, including inflating vocal sacs, squealing, and arm waving, according to a study published January 13, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Fábio P. de Sá, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil, and colleagues. Frog communication plays a role in species recognition and recognition […]

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Monkeys’ reaction to those who have more? Spite

Monkeys, like humans, will take the time and effort to punish others who get more than their fair share, according to a study conducted at Yale. In fact, they can act downright spiteful. Capuchin monkeys will yank on a rope to collapse a table that is holding a partner monkey’s food. While chimpanzees collapse their […]

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Detection dogs help map out bear habitat in Greater Yellowstone

A recently released study from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) details a new method using “detection dogs,” genetic analysis, and scientific models to assess habitat suitability for bears in an area linking the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to the northern U.S. Rockies. The method, according to the authors, offers an effective, non-invasive approach to the collection […]

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How birds learn through imitation

Precise changes in brain circuitry occur as young zebra finches go from listening to their fathers’ courtship songs to knowing the songs themselves, according to a study led by neuroscientists at NYU Langone Medical Center and published online in a Science cover report on January 14. The study reveals how birds learn songs through observation […]

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Feral cats: Computational study looks at how best to fix the nuisance

Working with faculty members in mathematics and biology, a Duquesne University undergraduate has created the first computational model to track the size, location and nuisance of feral cat colonies. This issue concerns communities nationwide that hold some 70 to 100 million unhoused cats and kittens. By the nuisance criteria, the traditional Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) method that […]

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How dogs see your emotions: Dogs view facial expressions differently

A recent study from the University of Helsinki shows that the social gazing behavior of domestic dogs resembles that of humans: dogs view facial expressions systematically, preferring eyes. In addition, the facial expression alters their viewing behavior, especially in the face of threat. The study was recently published in the science journal PLOS ONE. The […]

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* When chickens go wild

“Don’t look at them directly,” Rie Henriksen whispers, “otherwise they get suspicious.” The neuroscientist is referring to a dozen or so chickens loitering just a few metres away in the car park of a scenic observation point for Opaekaa Falls on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The chickens have every reason to distrust Henriksen and […]

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Absence of serotonin alters development, function of brain circuits

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have created the first complete model to describe the role that serotonin plays in brain development and structure. Serotonin, also called 5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT], is an important neuromodulator of brain development and the structure and function of neuronal (nerve cell) circuits. The results were published in the […]

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Gene controls stress hormone production in macaques

Some people react more calmly in stressful situations than others. Certain genes, such as the so-called COMT gene, are thought to play a role in determining our stress response. Researchers from the Vetmeduni Vienna and the University of Vienna have now studied this gene in macaques, a genus of Old World monkeys, and for the […]

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Midnight munchies mangle memory

Eating at the wrong time impairs learning, memory. Modern schedules can lead us to eat around the clock so it is important to understand how this could dull some of the functions of the brain. New research in mice shows that clocks in different regions of the brain start working out of step, altering the […]

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Crows caught on camera fashioning special hook tools

Scientists have been given an extraordinary glimpse into how wild New Caledonian crows make and use ‘hooked stick tools’ to hunt for insect prey. Scientists have been given an extraordinary glimpse into how wild New Caledonian crows make and use ‘hooked stick tools’ to hunt for insect prey. Dr Jolyon Troscianko, from the University of […]

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Tiniest chameleons deliver most powerful tongue-lashings

Chameleons are known for sticking their tongues out at the world fast and far, but until a new study by Brown University biologist Christopher Anderson, the true extent of this awesome capability had been largely overlooked. That’s because the smallest species hadn’t been measured. “Smaller species have higher performance than larger species,” said Anderson, a […]

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Few migratory birds adequately protected across migration cycle

Scientists have called for a greater international collaborative effort to save the world’s migratory birds, many of which are at risk of extinction due to loss of habitat along their flight paths. More than 90 per cent of the world’s migratory birds are inadequately protected due to poorly coordinated conservation around the world, a new […]

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Urban swans’ genes make them plucky

Researchers have discovered that swans’ wariness is partly determined by their genes. The research, which is published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, suggests that swans which are genetically predisposed to be timid are more likely to live in non-urban areas, and the findings could have important implications for releasing animals bred in […]

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Brain-manipulation studies may produce spurious links to behaviour

Manipulating brain circuits with light and drugs can cause ripple effects that could muddy experimental results. In the tightly woven networks of the brain, tugging one neuronal thread can unravel numerous circuits. Because of that, the authors of a paper published in Nature on 9 December caution that techniques such as optogenetics — activating neurons […]

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Precise method underlies sloppy madness of dog slurping

Stories about lap dogs are everywhere, but researchers at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering can tell the story of dog lapping. Using photography and laboratory simulations, researchers studied how dogs raise fluids into their mouths to drink. They discovered that sloppy-looking actions at the dog bowl are in fact high-speed, precisely timed movements that […]

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Understanding body language of mice

It might not rival Newton’s apple, which led to his formulating the law of gravity, but the collapse of a lighting scaffold played a key role in the discovery that mice, like humans, have body language. Harvard Medical School scientists have developed new computational techniques that can make sense of the bodily movements of mice, […]

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Dogs give friends food

Compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, the human capacity for cooperation is something quite special. Cooperating with one another requires a certain amount of prosocial behaviour. This means helping others without any direct personal benefit. Prosociality has already been demonstrated in animals that are very closely related with humans, i.e. primates. In other […]

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Despite poaching, elephants’ social networks hold steady

While the demand for ivory has put elephants under incredible pressure from poachers, their rich social networks have remained remarkably steady. That’s according to evidence on the grouping patterns among adult female elephants living in northern Kenya over a 16-year period, which show that daughters often step up to take the place of their fallen […]

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Cuckoo sheds new light on the scientific mystery of bird migration

The cuckoo is not only capable of finding its way from unknown locations; it does this through a highly complex individual decision making process. Such skills have never before been documented in migratory birds. A new study shows that navigation in migratory birds is even more complex than previously assumed. The Center for Macroecology, Evolution […]

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Marine airgun noise could cause turtle trauma

Scientists from the University of Exeter are warning of the risks that seismic surveys may pose to sea turtles. Widely used in marine oil and gas exploration, seismic surveys use airguns to produce sound waves that penetrate the sea floor to map oil and gas reserves. The review, published in the journal Biological Conservation, found […]

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