Tag Archives: Welfare

* Electronic training collars present welfare risk to pet dogs

The research, conducted by animal behaviour specialists at the University of Lincoln, UK, indicates that, in the sample of dogs studied, there are greater welfare concerns around the use of so-called “shock collars” than with positive reward-based training. The results have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS One. There are arguments for and […]

Tags: ,

Fish-kill method questioned

Posted on

Common anaesthetic not the most humane option for zebrafish euthanasia, say studies. The anaesthetic MS-222, which can be added to tanks to cause overdose, seems to distress the fish, two separate studies have shown. The studies’ authors propose that alternative anaesthetics or methods should be used instead. “These two studies — carried out independently — use […]

Tags: ,

Lemur babies of older moms less likely to get hurt

A long-term study of aggression in lemurs finds that infants born to older mothers are less likely to get hurt than those born to younger mothers. The researchers base their findings on an analysis of detailed medical records for more than 240 ring-tailed lemurs — cat-sized primates with long black-and-white banded tails — that were […]

Tags: , ,

Dogs recognize familiar faces from images

So far the specialized skill for recognizing facial features holistically has been assumed to be a quality that only humans and possibly primates possess. Although it’s well known, that faces and eye contact play an important role in the communication between dogs and humans, this was the first study, where facial recognition of dogs was […]

Tags: , ,

Chimpanzees are rational, not conformists, researchers find

Chimpanzees are sensitive to social influences but they maintain their own strategy to solve a problem rather than conform to what the majority of group members are doing. However, chimpanzees do change their strategy when they can obtain greater rewards, MPI researchers found. The study was published in PLOS ONE on November 28, 2013. Chimpanzees […]

Tags: , ,

How horses can teach humans communication skills, kindness

A nudge from the nose of a free-roaming zebra, or towering, 2,500-pound Clydesdale draft horse, might send others running. But Lauren Burke, a graduate student at Case Western Reserve University’s social work school, instead extends a curved hand to return the equine “hello.” In her required social work field placement, Burke spent the last 18 […]

Tags: , ,

Crows are no bird-brains: Neurobiologists investigate neuronal basis of crows’ intelligence

Scientists have long suspected that corvids — the family of birds including ravens, crows and magpies — are highly intelligent. Now, Tübingen neurobiologists Lena Veit und Professor Andreas Nieder have demonstrated how the brains of crows produce intelligent behavior when the birds have to make strategic decisions. Their results are published in the latest edition […]

Tags: , ,

Fences divide lion conservationists

Times are grim for the king of the beasts. Roughly 35,000 African lions roam the savannahs, down from more than 100,000 half a century ago, thanks to habitat loss, declining numbers of prey animals and killing by humans. One study estimated that fewer than 50 lions (Panthera leo) live in Nigeria and reported no sign […]

Tags: , ,

Biologists find an evolutionary Facebook for monkeys and apes

Why do the faces of some primates contain so many different colors — black, blue, red, orange and white — that are mixed in all kinds of combinations and often striking patterns while other primate faces are quite plain? UCLA biologists reported last year on the evolution of 129 primate faces in species from Central […]

Tags: , ,

How pigeons may smell their way home

Homing pigeons, like other birds, are extraordinary navigators, but how they manage to find their way back to their lofts is still debated. To navigate, birds require a ‘map’ (to tell them home is south, for example) and a ‘compass’ (to tell them where south is), with the sun and the earth’s magnetic field being […]

Tags: , ,

Monkey that purrs like a cat is among new species discovered in Amazon rainforest

At least 441 new species of animals and plants have been discovered over a four year period in the vast, underexplored rainforest of the Amazon, including a monkey that purrs like a cat. Found between 2010 and 2013, the species include a flame-patterned lizard, a thumbnail-sized frog, a vegetarian piranha, a brightly coloured snake, and […]

Tags: , ,

Climate change has silver lining for grizzly bears

Global warming and forest disturbances may have a silver lining for threatened species of grizzly bears in Alberta, Canada. In a 10-year study that monitored 112 bears in Alberta’s Rocky Mountain region, University of Alberta biologist Scott Nielsen and his colleagues found that warmer temperatures and easier access to food associated with forest disturbances helped […]

Tags: , ,

To swallow or to spit? New medicines for llamas, alpacas

South American camelids, especially llamas and alpacas, are very susceptible to infections caused by endoparasites. The so-called small liver fluke (Dicrocoelium dendriticum) is particularly problematic and infections with this parasite are frequently fatal. Moreover, camelids are prone to stress and together with their tendency to spit (especially when they do not like the taste of […]

Tags: , ,

Extra gene makes mice manic

A gene whose abnormalities have been associated with symptoms of schizophrenia, epilepsy and autism also has comparable effects when artificially duplicated in mice. Duplication of a single gene — and too much of the corresponding protein in brain cells — causes mice to have seizures and display manic-like behaviour, a study has found. But a […]

Tags: , ,

Elephants know what it means to point to something, no training required

When people want to direct the attention of others, they naturally do so by pointing, starting from a very young age. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, on October 10 have shown that elephants spontaneously get the gist of human pointing and can use it as a cue for finding food. […]

Tags: , ,

Swifts stay airborne for six months at a time

Swifts are said to spend most of their lives airborne, but no one has ever proved this. Now, a study suggests there’s some truth to it: alpine swifts spend more than six consecutive months aloft, not even resting after migrating to north Africa following their breeding season in Europe. “Up to now, such long-lasting locomotive […]

Tags: , ,

Universal gown, glove use by employees in ICU reduces MRSA 40 percent

Healthcare workers’ use of disposable gowns and gloves upon entering all patient rooms on an intensive care unit (ICU), versus only in rooms on standard isolation protocol, helped reduce patient acquisition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by approximately 40 percent, according to new research co-led by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the […]

Tags: , ,

Infanticide linked to wet-nursing in meerkats

Subordinate female meerkats who try to breed often lose their offspring to infanticide by the dominant female or are evicted from the group. These recently bereaved or ostracised mothers may then become wet-nurses for the dominant female, an activity that may be a form of “rent” that allows them to remain in the community. Wet-nursing […]

Tags: , ,

Experiment explores innate visual behavior in mice

When you’re a tiny mouse in the wild, spotting aerial predators — like hawks and owls — is essential to your survival. But once you see an owl, how is this visual cue processed into a behavior that helps you to avoid an attack? Using an experimental video technique, researchers at the California Institute of […]

Tags: , ,

Tears for fears: Juvenile mice secrete a protective pheromone in their tears, blocking adult mating

Nocturnal animals need their noses to stay alive. Mice, among others, depend on their impressive olfactory powers to sniff out food or avoid danger in the dark. Hard-wired to flee a predator or fight a mating rival in response to a whiff of urine, mice use a streamlined system that sends the sensory cue to […]

Tags: , ,

Orangutans plan their future route and communicate it to others

Male orangutans plan their travel route up to one day in advance and communicate it to other members of their species. In order to attract females and repel male rivals, they call in the direction in which they are going to travel. Anthropologists at the University of Zurich have found that not only captive, but […]

Tags: , ,

Crop-raiding elephants flee tiger growls

Wild Asian elephants slink quietly away at the sound of a growling tiger, but trumpet and growl before retreating from leopard growls, researchers at the University of California, Davis, have found. The work, published Sept. 11 in the journal Biology Letters, could help Indian farmers protect their crops from marauding elephants and save the lives […]

Tags: , ,

Neuroscientists show that monkeys can decide to call out or keep silent

“Should I say something or not?” Human beings are not alone in pondering this dilemma — animals also face decisions when they communicate by voice. University of Tübingen neurobiologists Dr. Steffen Hage and Professor Andreas Nieder have now demonstrated that nerve cells in the brain signal the targeted initiation of calls — forming the basis […]

Tags: , ,

Primate calls, like human speech, can help infants form categories

Human infants’ responses to the vocalizations of non-human primates shed light on the developmental origin of a crucial link between human language and core cognitive capacities, a new study reports. Previous studies have shown that even in infants too young to speak, listening to human speech supports core cognitive processes, including the formation of object […]

Tags: , ,

Australian cats and foxes may not deserve their bad rep

Foxes and feral cats are wildly unpopular among Australian conservationists. The two animals are infamous for killing off the continent’s native species, and they’ve been the targets of numerous government-backed eradication campaigns. But new research suggests that on Australian islands, these predators help control an even more destructive one: the black rat. As a result, […]

Tags: , ,

First documented report of swimming and diving in apes

Two researchers have provided the first video-based observation of swimming and diving apes. Instead of the usual dog-paddle stroke used by most terrestrial mammals, these animals use a kind of breaststroke. The swimming strokes peculiar to humans and apes might be the result of an earlier adaptation to an arboreal life. For many years, zoos […]

Tags: , ,

Ostrich necks reveal Sauropod movements, food habits

A new analysis of ostriches reveals that a computer model of long-necked sauropods used to simulate the dinosaurs’ movements, featured in BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs and the focus of an installation at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, does not correctly reconstruct how flexible their necks were. The results are published August 14 […]

Tags: , ,

Rubber slat mats could improve animal well-being

New research shows that rubber slat mats could improve swine health. In a new study in the Journal of Animal Science, researchers in Europe studied how different types of flooring affects claw and limb lesions, locomotion and flooring cleanliness. According to the researchers, flooring is one of the main factors in production systems that cause […]

Tags: , ,

Dogs yawn more often in response to owners’ yawns than strangers

Dogs yawn contagiously when they see a person yawning, and respond more frequently to their owner’s yawns than to a stranger’s, according to research published August 7 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Teresa Romero and colleagues from the University of Tokyo. Pet dogs in the study watched their owner or a stranger […]

Tags: , ,

Owlets spend more time in REM sleep than adult owls

Baby birds have sleep patterns similar to baby mammals, and their sleep changes in the same way when growing up. This is what a team from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and the University of Lausanne found out working with barn owls in the wild. The team also discovered that this change in sleep […]

Tags: , ,

Sidebar