The more we learn about the emotions shared by all mammals, the more we must rethink our own human intelligence [more inside]
Koryos, who previously explained how cats got domesticated using tumblr, now explains why homosexual pair-bonding can be a successful reproductive stratagem. Also, Coot Parenting Tips, Queen Cowbird Of The Brood Parasites , There's No Such Thing As An Alpha Wolf, and Can Animals Have Pets?
From toygers to GloFish This author says harm to the animals and risk to the environment are more important factors than means the of modifying an animal's appearance. So "docking" the tail of a horse or dog is worse than making a GMO pet. Surprise, genetically modified GloFish are already on sale in pet stores. (Previously.)
Lovatt reasoned that if she could live with a dolphin around the clock, nurturing its interest in making human-like sounds, like a mother teaching a child to speak, they'd have more success. - stories from the NASA- funded project to teach Dolphins to talk using LSD (among other methods. )
Visualize a comic book, in your language, and imagine what would be written in the text balloon coming from the mouth of an animal. Now translate it. Derek Abbott of The University of Adelaide (previously) has compiled "the world’s biggest multilingual list" of animal sounds, commands, and pet names.
You've heard of dog and horse shows, but are you familiar with rabbit shows? Rabbit Fever is a coming-of-age story that follows six competitors as they strive to win the top title at the National American Rabbit Convention - an event that draws more than 20,000 rabbits in one building, the largest mass of rabbits in the world. While adult members of the rabbit habit compete for BEST IN SHOW, the teenage enthusiasts quest for an even more coveted honor in the rabbit community - Rabbit King and Queen!
Animals aren’t tools for thinking. Animals are some of the basic building blocks of thought itself
When he’s teaching, my friend the writer William Fiennes sometimes asks students to write about an encounter they have had with an animal at some time in their lives. What they soon discover is that the animal is always some unspoken aspect of themselves. The rat in the compost bin. The teenage girls escaping from a predatory geography teacher who stumble on a sheep giving birth. The deer shot by two boys who’ve stolen a gun. Put an animal in a story and it is never just an animal.[more inside]
A recent workshop on Analyzing Animal Vocal Sequences provided some illuminating views of what we know and what we don't know about animal communication. In particular one notes the increased use of Machine Learning algorithms that are currently used to make sense of human interactions on the web. Talks at the workshop included:Unraveling dolphin communication complexity, Singing isn't just for the birds, Automated identification of bird individuals using machine learning, A receiver's perspective on analyzing animal vocal sequences, Animal communication sequence analysis using information theory, Machine learning for the classification of animal vocalizations and Information theoretic principles of human language and animal behavior
This August, Washington state's Fish and Wildlife Commission banned giant Pacific octopus hunting (recreational harvesting) across seven popular scuba sites in the Puget Sound -- not because the species is endangered, but simply because the sea creature is revered by the Seattle community. The law went into effect on October 6. What triggered the ban? Therein lies a story. [more inside]
Advice to UK animal owners just before World War Two broke out: "If at all possible, send or take your household animals into the country in advance of an emergency." It concluded: "If you cannot place them in the care of neighbours, it really is kindest to have them destroyed." [more inside]
What, really, is a wolf-dog?? Wolf-dogs already blur the line between dog and wolf - BUT things get really muddy if dogs are proven to have evolved themselves : "The evolutionarily correct way to state all this is that human beings, with their campfires and garbage heaps and hunting practices, but above all with their social interactions, represented an ecological niche ripe for exploitation by wolves."
Until recently one of the rarest animals ever had only ever been sighted once - the hexapus. It's not an injured octopus but seemed to be a fully developed octopus that only had six limbs. The trouble with being so rare is that most people would never realize if they found a hexapus - like the vacationing family in Greece that found the second hexapus ever then cooked and ate it. [more inside]
Cheetahs’ Secret Weapon: A Tight Turning Radius [New York Times]
"Anyone who has watched a cheetah run down an antelope knows that these cats are impressively fast. But it turns out that speed is not the secret to their prodigious hunting skills: a novel study of how cheetahs chase prey in the wild shows that it is their agility — their skill at leaping sideways, changing directions abruptly and slowing down quickly — that gives those antelope such bad odds."
E.U. regulators are expected to announce Monday a ban on the import and sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals and to pledge more efforts to push other parts of the world, like China, to accept alternatives. [more inside]
From Lucy Cooke's Slothville comes a bucket of sloths in support of her new book, A Little Book of Sloth.
Head Like An Orange is a tumblr dedicated to posting beautiful gifs from various nature documentaries.
When 17th-century Dutch captain Willem de Vlamingh encountered what he described as "a kind of rat as big as a common cat" on on island off the western coast of Australia, he quickly dubbed it "Rats' Nest". Despite the insult, these marsupials aren't known to hold a grudge: the Quokkas, native to what is still known as Rottnest Island and nearby isles, are some of the happiest-looking, most inquisitive furry critters around.
"On hot days or as a special treat her endangered grey-headed flying foxes are treated to a special mix of blended fruit juices. Camilla the 12-week-old bat especially enjoys hanging around and partaking of a cold 'frothy'."
What's in the bear row and the wolf column? A wolf cub wrestling a bear cub. What's at the intersection of monkey and raccoon? This meeting of rascals. Just some of the many videos you will find at the amazing Animal Matrix.
Sometimes walls, windows, door and a roof just isn't enough. Why be boxed in by four walls when you can make your home or business look just like your favorite critter? Here's a collection of animal-shaped buildings from around the world, including the trailblazing Lucy the Elephant whose creator got a patent in the 1880s giving him exclusive rights to make animal-shaped buildings up until the turn of the century. [more inside]
"Priceless or Worthless?" is a handsomely photographed report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature identifying the 100 most endangered animals, plants, and fungi (9 MB PDF) on the planet and what needs to be done to save them. [more inside]
Chimp Fights and Trolley Rides from Radiolab's morality episode: "try to answer tough moral quandaries. The questions--which force you to decide between homicidal scenarios--are the same ones being asked by Dr. Joshua Greene. He'll tell us about using modern brain scanning techniques to take snapshots of the brain as it struggles to resolve these moral conflicts. And he'll describe what he sees in these images: quite literally, a battle taking place in the brain. It's 'inner chimp' versus a calculator-wielding rationale."
"Tool use in animals is rare, and bespeaks a level of intelligence that most of us are unaccustomed to associating with non-humans. That's what makes this video of a Green Heron using bread to lure fish to their doom so remarkable. One would be hard pressed to argue that this bird is not thinking critically about the technique it is employing to catch its prey. Not only is it demonstrating logic and reason in its capacity to understand that a piece of bread can be used as bait, it's also passing up the chance to eat the bread in favor of a better meal, actively weighing cost and benefit, pitting immediate gratification against delayed satisfaction. It's a stunning display of animal intelligence."
Marineland is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Niagara Falls. It features the world's largest habitat for viewing orcas, houses a world record 41 beluga whales in their exhibits, and offers a variety of daily shows featuring bottlenose dolphins, harbor seals, sea lions and walruses. On Tuesday, the Toronto Star published the results of an extensive investigation, alleging "a pattern of neglect that has repeatedly resulted in animal suffering." Video. Slideshow. Demonstration protests are scheduled for Saturday. Marineland denies mistreatment.
Not for the first time, a paper-mache rhino terrorizes Ueno Zoo. Previously: ape, polar bear, tiger, zebra.
No pet for you. Want to adopt a dog or cat? Prepare for an inquisition at the animal rescue.
Sloth Sanctuary is a documentary about a sloth orphanage in Costa Rica that will air on Animal Planet on December 18th. Trailer
Wild Animal Escape From Ohio Farm Like 'Noah's Ark Wrecking' "Jack Hanna says the scene of wild and dangerous animals running from an eastern Ohio farm after their owner freed them and killed himself was 'like Noah’s Ark wrecking.' [more inside]
Snapperfest in Rising Sun, Indiana, is a yearly event revolving around catching wild Snapping Turtles. It is a contest where men grab a wild Indiana snapping turtle by the tail, run the length of a field and then force the terrified turtle's head out of the shell Then they try to get their hand wrapped around the the turtle's neck and hoist it over their head. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources' position is that cruelty laws do not apply to wild animals. [more inside]
A possible new 'ethical' source for popular food-additive gelatin: humans. Vegan reaction not yet forthcoming. [more inside]