Animals are not cute; but their behaviour is fun science

Facebook Twitter

Earth - Cuddly sifakas fight off huge marauding snake. Indiana Jones might have struggled to cope with snakes, but Coquerel's sifakas evidently know exactly what to do.

Earth - Cuddly sifakas fight off huge marauding snake

One of these Madagascan primates was attacked last year by a large snake called a Madagascar ground boa. But the other members of her troop attacked the snake, eventually hurting it so badly it died. The incident is described in the journal Primates. The snake attack was witnessed by four hotel workers in Madagascar on 24 March 2014. They subsequently described what happened to Charlie Gardner of the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK and his colleagues. 9 questions about penguins you were too embarrassed to ask. Today is Penguin Awareness Day.

9 questions about penguins you were too embarrassed to ask

Truth be told, this is an incredibly silly holiday. We should be honoring this majestic beast every day of our lives. Alas, we have just Penguin Awareness Day in January and World Penguin Day in April. In order to promote awareness, we've created a brief guide to the magnificent penguin: Dolphins Use Sponges To Access Novel Food Sources. Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins around Shark Bay, Australia, perform a unique behavior called “sponging”, which is where certain animals place sponges over their snouts during foraging activities.

Dolphins Use Sponges To Access Novel Food Sources

Not all of the dolphins in this area display the behavior, and it was discovered that sponging was in fact culturally transmitted. Although it seemed plausible that sponging could be classified as tool use, it remained a mystery what the precise purpose of this behavior was; scientists postulated that it could serve to protect their beaks against abrasion from sharp objects whilst foraging for food. A new study aimed to shed light on why these animals might be using these sponges; in particular, whether sponging allowed the animals to access certain novel resources that non-spongers could not. They found evidence that the animals used sponges as tools to access food, meaning that they could exploit an otherwise unused niche. Methods Made Manifest - Episode 2. Methods Made Manifest - Episode 1.

Speeding Towards Birds In A Car… For Science! In the winter of 2006, Pierre Legagneux started measuring when birds would fly away from him, as he sped towards them in his white Peugeot.

Speeding Towards Birds In A Car… For Science!

This wasn’t an official part of his research; he was just bored. After a recent move, his mornings of cycling past bucolic villages and forests had been replaced by long, tedious drives. “I found it very boring so I found something to do while driving,“ he says. “I started recording birds flying away in front of my car.” Legagneux drove down roads with speed limits of 20, 50, 90 or 110 kilometres per hour, and either stuck exactly to those speeds or deliberately drove under or over them.

One year and 134 measurements later, Legagneux clearly showed that birds flee from incoming traffic at greater distances on roads with higher speed limits. Cunnilingus increases duration of sex in megabat species. The males of a species of megabat have been observed giving oral sex to females in a move that appears to prolong the duration of copulation, a study has shown.

Cunnilingus increases duration of sex in megabat species

A team of biologists from Madurai Kamaraj University observed 57 separate incidences of copulation in a colony of Indian flying foxes (Pteropus giganteus), a giant species of bat. Before mating, males would typically groom their penis before approaching a nearby female. Females typically moved away, and the males would follow. When the females stopped moving, the males would start licking the female's vagina for around a minute. In the vast majority of cases (57 out of 69), the male then mounted the female for sex -- the act itself lasted between ten and 20 seconds. Chimps' Answer to Einstein. Natasha, a chimp at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda, has always seemed different from her peers.

Chimps' Answer to Einstein

How do elephants trumpet? At last, scientists figure it out. Elephants' deepest calls can thunder up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) away.

How do elephants trumpet? At last, scientists figure it out.

Now, researchers have learned for the first time how the massive animals produce these sounds. Skip to next paragraph Subscribe Today to the Monitor Click Here for your FREE 30 DAYS ofThe Christian Science MonitorWeekly Digital Edition. Gorilla Youngsters Seen Dismantling Poachers' Traps—A First. BBC Nature - Crows know familiar human voices. 11 May 2012Last updated at 12:16 By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC Nature The researchers noted when crows turned their heads towards the sound of a familiar voice Crows recognise familiar human voices and the calls of familiar birds from other species, say researchers.

BBC Nature - Crows know familiar human voices

The ability could help the intelligent birds to thrive in urban environments; using vocal cues from their human and avian neighbours to find food or be alerted to potential threats. The team used recordings of human voices and jackdaw calls to test the birds' responses. They published the findings in the journal Animal Cognition. Lead researcher Claudia Wascher from the University of Vienna said that, although it was widely known that crows were "very intelligent", most studies had focused on their ability to recognise and communicate with their own species. Baboons Appear to Recognize Words From Gibberish. BBC Nature - Brown bear exfoliates using rock as a tool.

6 March 2012Last updated at 12:04 The brown bear scrubbed its face using a barnacle-covered rock A wild brown bear has been photographed using a barnacle-covered rock to exfoliate in the first recorded act of tool use by the species.

BBC Nature - Brown bear exfoliates using rock as a tool

The observation was made in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska by the University of Cumbria's Dr Volker Deecke. Fish mimics octopus that mimics fish. Science Can Neither Explain Nor Deny the Awesomeness of This Sledding Crow - Alexis Madrigal - Technology. Before we talk, you need to watch the video above.

Science Can Neither Explain Nor Deny the Awesomeness of This Sledding Crow - Alexis Madrigal - Technology

It's just one minute and 24 seconds. You'll observe a crow (probably a 'hooded crow') pick up the lid to a jar, set it down on the apex of a snow-mottled roof and slide down one side, carefully keeping its feet on the lid until it gets to the bottom. Then it picks up the lid, flies back to the apex, tests out another face of the roof, finds it lacking, returns to the original position, and slides down again. Guest Post! It’s About Time: Delving Into Animals’ Memories. Editor’s Note: Today’s post, coming appropriately after yesterday’s post on human intuitions about memory, comes from Felicity Muth who blogs at Not Bad Science, and tweets as @FelicityMuth.

This post, while it can certainly stand alone, is meant to be read after reading Felicity’s contribution to The Guest Blog. Animal Imagination: The Dog That Pretended to Feed a Frog (and Other Tales) Can dogs pretend? This is the question I asked yesterday, prompted by Sheril’s story: …this afternoon Happy did something unusual. Empathic rats spring each other from jail. You enter a room with two cages.

One contains a friend, who is clearly distressed. Guest Post: the Nature of Octopuses. There is an old story about a scorpion and a turtle. Variants abound, but the basic tale revolves around an unusually talkative scorpion that asks a turtle for a lift across a river. The turtle refuses at first, fearing the scorpion’s sudden but inevitable betrayal. The scorpion insists, the turtle relents, and the two get halfway across before the scorpion predictably stings the turtle. As they sink to their mutual deaths, the turtle asks, “Why did you do it?”

The scorpion simply replies: “It’s my nature.” This story is similar, except an octopus plays the role of the scorpion, and no one talks. Moreton Bay, on the eastern coast of Australia, is home to around 20,000 green turtles. Dingo rearranges furniture for better dining - life - 22 December 2011. Video: Dingo moves table to snag treat. Zoologger: Cannibal shrimp shows its romantic side - life - 17 November 2011. Octopus Walks on Land. Video of the Week #19, November 30th, 2011. Turtle embryos can speed up their development to hatch together with their siblings. Cold-Blooded Cognition: Social Cognition in a Non-Social Reptile? Real Life Werewolves? Dog Bites and Full Moons. Muriqui monkey mothers are key to sons' sexual success. Inside the mind of the octopus. Small, Sneaky Squid Produce Big Sperm. Bonobo beats chimpanzee in intelligence test - video. The Science of Sexism: Primate Behavior and the Culture of Sexual Coercion.

Warning: content may be triggering for survivors of sexual assault/abuse. How to Have Fun Like Monkeys, Whales and Foxes. Zoologger: Patriarchal fish punish powerful females - life - 15 June 2011. Angelfish can estimate quantity. Don't have sex with a time-travelling sea monkey. Weird Mating Calls of the Leopard Slug (Life in the Underground) Why female zebra finches cheat on their partners - life - 13 June 2011. BBC Nature - In Pictures: Spotting weedy seadragons of Australia. Californian dolphin gang caught killing porpoises - environment - 02 June 2011. All-male clams escape from genetic canyons by stealing eggs.

Why have sex? To fight parasites, of course! This is basically how i met my girlfriend. BBC - Earth News - Males make pregnant horses abort. Scientists create chill-out music for monkeys. Bellowing bedfellows. Need A Date? Take A Cue From The Birds : The Thoughtful Animal. At it like rabbits: Bizarre animal sex in pictures - Image 4. Monkey see, monkey facepalm. Rage-inducing chemical on squid eggs turns males into violent thugs. Vultures use tools. Ravens use vultures. Ravens are tools. Chicken research advances understanding of animal emotion. Zoologger: The only fish that cries like a baby - life - 11 May 2011. Eight-year-old children publish bee study in Royal Society journal. Elephants give each other a helping trunk. One fish, two fish... Can fish count? Sharks visit personal hygienists.

Father-Child Bonds in the Animal World, Special and Strange. Ant dropping behaviour by wasps. BBC - Earth News - Males make pregnant horses abort. Octopus tool use. First evidence that gorillas pass on traditions - life - 10 May 2011. Laurie Santos: A monkey economy as irrational as ours. Do animals masturbate? - By Daniel Engber. The Adaptive Function of Masturbation in a Promiscuous African Ground Squirrel.