Tag Archives: Behaviour (Ethology)

* High-fat diet prompts immune cells to start eating connections between neurons

When a high-fat diet causes us to become obese, it also appears to prompt normally bustling immune cells in our brain to become sedentary and start consuming the connections between our neurons, scientists say. The good news is going back on a low-fat diet for just two months, at least in mice, reverses this trend […]

Tags: , ,

Elephants may use trunks like ‘leaf blowers’ to obtain inaccessible food

Two captive elephants blast air through their trunks to grasp hard-to-reach food, suggests an initial study published today in Springer’s journal Animal Cognition. This behaviour, studied in a zoo population of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), is altered according to the distance to the food, which may indicate advanced mental ability and awareness of their physical […]

Tags: ,

What makes a leader? Clues from the animal kingdom

As the American media continues to buzz over who is more or less likely to secure the Republican and Democratic nominations for U.S. President, researchers in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution review some interesting perspectives on the nature of leadership. The experts from a wide range of disciplines examined patterns of leadership in […]

Tags: , ,

Wild birds choose love over food

Wild birds will sacrifice access to food in order to stay close to their partner over the winter, according to a study by Oxford University researchers. Scientists from the Department of Zoology found that mated pairs of great tits chose to prioritise their relationships over sustenance in a novel experiment that prevented couples from foraging […]

Tags: ,

Secret nocturnal lives of wood thrushes

We know surprisingly little about what songbirds do after the sun goes down, but past studies have provided tantalizing hints that many forest birds roost for the night in different habitat from where they spend the day. A new paper confirms that wood thrushes often move out of their daytime ranges to sleep, seeking dense […]

Tags: ,

Growing up without parents makes endangered birds more flexible

This is it, kids: official permission to stop listening to what your parents tell you–but only if you’re a bird. Many animal parents spend time teaching their young about how to find food and avoid danger, and this usually gives a big boost to their offspring. In a Commentary forthcoming in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, […]

Tags: ,

Elephants boost tree losses in South Africa’s largest savanna reserve

Protected areas, such as nature reserves and national parks, play a crucial role in sheltering wildlife, such as African elephants, from hunting and habitat destruction. But it’s important that conservation managers understand how the vegetation in these natural protected zones is affected by the population growth that is spurred by this animal safeguarding. To this […]

Tags: ,

Citizen scientists contribute to dog research

Five hundred citizen scientists around the world have contributed data to a study of what goes on inside the minds of their dogs. The research, appearing Sept. 16 in PLoS ONE, analyzes data collected by 500 dog owners who played the same games at home that researchers use in the laboratory to find out about […]

Tags: ,

Mimicry helps sheep solve a dilemma

Imitation behaviors play a key role in many collective phenomena seen in animals. An analysis of the collective movements of grazing sheep has revealed that sheep alternate slow dispersion phases with very fast regrouping, in which they imitate the behavior of their neighbors. This study, conducted by researchers from the CNRS, CEA, and the Universities […]

Tags: ,

Scientists control rats’ senses of familiarity, novelty

With pulses of light in the right part of the brain at the right frequencies, Brown University scientists induced rats to behave as if things they’d seen before were novel and things they’d never seen were old hat. “In a sense we were trying to ‘write in’ novelty and ‘write in’ familiarity,” said Rebecca Burwell, […]

Tags: ,

Competing mice reveal genetic defects

In recent years, University of Utah biologists showed that when wild-type mice compete in seminatural “mouse barns” for food, territory and mates, they can suffer health problems not revealed by conventional toxicity tests on caged lab mice. This test previously found mouse reproduction and survival was harmed by inbreeding, certain medicines and fructose comparable with […]

Tags: , ,

The more the merrier for animals that synchronize their behavior

Social interaction could be the mechanism that allows animals living in groups to synchronize their activities, whether it’s huddling for warmth or offering protection from predators. This social presence affects the daily rhythm of activity and rest, and the larger the group, the greater the likelihood of synchronization, according to a study published recently in […]

Tags: ,

Standing on their own four feet: Why cats are more independent than dogs

Domestic cats do not generally see their owners as a focus of safety and security in the same way that dogs do, according to new research. The study by animal behaviour specialists at the University of Lincoln, UK, shows that while dogs perceive their owners as a safe base, the relationship between people and their […]

Tags: ,

Polar bears may survive ice melt, with or without seals

New calculations indicate that land-based food sources like caribou, snow geese, and eggs might provide enough calories for bears to avoid starvation. As climate change accelerates ice melt in the Arctic, polar bears may find caribou and snow geese replacing seals as an important food source, shows a recent study published in the journal PLOS […]

Tags: ,

Training a dog you can trust

Ane Møller Gabrielsen received her doctorate from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) on dogs in society and culture this spring. She opposes a Norwegian ban on six dog breeds. Norway bans ownership of pit bulls, American Staffordshire terriers (Amstaffs), Fila Brasileros, Tosa Inu, Dogo Argentinio and Czechoslovakian wolfhounds. But in the four […]

Tags: ,

* Dominance in a group of dogs expressed in hard figures

The hierarchy in a group of dogs is not based on aggression but on submissiveness. A dog ranked lower in the hierarchy displays signals of submissive behaviour towards dogs ranked higher. These findings have for the first time been substantiated by means of measurements by dog researcher Joanne van der Borg of Wageningen University and […]

Tags: ,

Seal pups listen for long distance calls to locate their mothers

Antarctic fur seal pups identify the mother’s vocal pitch at longer distance and use other components of the vocal signature at closer range to identify their mother in densely populated breeding colonies, according to a study published September 2, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Thierry Aubin from University of Paris-Sud and colleagues. […]

Tags: ,

* Countering pet obesity by rethinking feeding habits

In America, 190 million people share the luxuries of human life with their pets. Giving dogs and cats a place in human homes, beds and–sometimes even, their wills–comes with the family member package Amongst these shared human-pet comforts is the unique luxury to overeat. As a result, the most common form of malnutrition for Americans […]

Tags: , ,

Chimpanzees found to survive in degraded and human-dominated habitats

A chimpanzee population in Uganda has been found to be three times larger than previously estimated, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Ecology. The study suggests that chimpanzees may adapt to degraded habitats better than expected, but also highlights the importance of new and more focused conservation strategies. The protected Budongo […]

Tags: ,

Even cockatoos draw conclusions

It can be challenging to develop a task setup to test inference by exclusion that can be applied in similar way to different species. One of the problems of previous studies was to exclude the possibility that animals chose a novel stimuli simply out of curiosity rather than by the exclusion of known negative stimuli. […]

Tags: ,

New Caledonian crows show strong evidence of social learning

Among our greatest achievements as humans, some might say, is our cumulative technological culture — the tool-using acumen that is passed from one generation to the next. As the implements we use on a daily basis are modified and refined over time, they seem to evolve right along with us. A similar observation might be […]

Tags: ,

Brain-controlled prosthesis nearly as good as one-finger typing

Years of work yield technique that continuously corrects brain readings to give people with spinal cord injuries a more precise way to tap out commands by using a thought-controlled cursor. When we type or perform other precise tasks, our brains and muscles usually work together effortlessly. But when a neurological disease or spinal cord injury […]

Tags: ,

Bird flies 16,000-kilometre Pacific circuit for no clear reason

Who actually enjoys long-haul flights? One seabird seems to – the ancient murrelet. It travels almost 8000 kilometres across the north Pacific, then does the whole slog again in reverse, for no obvious benefit. Most migrating birds travel long distances from north to south, or vice versa, to spend the harsher winter in warmer climates, […]

Tags: ,

Fateful instinct: Open windows can be dangerous for cats

The summer months are dangerous for indoor cats. A large number of cats have accidents every year when they fall out of open windows or from balconies. Every year the University Clinic for Small Animals at the Vetmeduni Vienna treats about 70 to 80 cats that suffer from bone fractures or internal injuries after such […]

Tags: ,

Prevention methods for dog bites too simplistic, researchers find

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown that educating pet owners about canine body language may not be the answer to preventing dog bites as originally thought. Experts have argued that dog bites are preventable if owners are properly educated on how to read canine behaviour and identify high risk situations. Until now, however, […]

Tags: , ,

One in four UK show dogs competing at Crufts is overweight

One in four dogs competing in the world’s largest canine show (Crufts) is overweight, despite the perception that entrants are supposed to represent ideal specimens of their breed, reveals research published online in Veterinary Record. The widespread dissemination of show dog images online may be ‘normalising’ obesity in dogs, now recognised to be a common […]

Tags: ,

* Cat pheromones may cause increased scratching, focus on scratching devices

A study by animal behavior expert John McGlone theorizes cats scratch more due to pheromones left behind from previous cat scratching. Cats have long been some of the most independent and unpredictable animals on the planet. They were revered by Egyptian pharaohs and have been used as symbols by many cultures for their grace, elegance […]

Tags: ,

New evidence of cultural diversification between neighboring chimpanzee communities

For centuries it has been thought that culture is what distinguishes humans from other animals, but over the past decade this idea has been repeatedly called into question. Cultural variation has been identified in a growing number of species in recent years, ranging from primates to cetaceans. Chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, show the most […]

Tags: ,

Male koalas raise their voices to avoid conflict

Posted on

A team of international scientists has tracked the love lives of koalas, uncovering some curious behaviours and finding that male koalas make their distinct bellows to avoid confrontation with competitors. The University of Queensland’s Dr Bill Ellis and colleagues in Australia, the US and Japan have mapped what they believe to be the first-look inside […]

Tags: ,

Freshwater and ocean acidification stunts growth of developing pink salmon

Posted on

Pink salmon that begin life in freshwater with high concentrations of carbon dioxide, which causes acidification, are smaller and may be less likely to survive, according to a new study from UBC. The risks of ocean acidification on marine species have been studied extensively but the impact of freshwater acidification is not well understood. The […]

Tags: ,

Sidebar