background preloader

Zoology & Animal behaviour

Facebook Twitter

Monkey Sees A Magic Trick. SCIENCE! Louder monkeys have smaller balls / Boing Boing. A new study in Current Biology has found an inverse correlation between the volume of howler monkeys' notoriously loud hoots and the size of their testicles.

SCIENCE! Louder monkeys have smaller balls / Boing Boing

I can attest to the remarkable volume of howler monkeys' howls; in my twenties, I volunteered on a school-building project in a swamp on the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border, and the local howler monkeys were our dawn chorus (they also stole our peanut butter and contaminated our food, giving me a naasty bout of typhus). Male howler monkeys use their howls to attract mates; louder howls attract more mates, but the apparatus to produce them comes at the expense of testicle size and sperm production. The quieter monkeys have bigger balls and more sperm. BAHFest West 2014 - Sarah Hird: Why do Mammals Sleep? Crows Are Even Smarter Than We Thought Possible  An Orangutan Has (Some) Human Rights, Argentine Court Rules. Sandra, a 28-year-old orangutan now living at the Buenos Aires Zoo.

An Orangutan Has (Some) Human Rights, Argentine Court Rules

Roger Schultz/Flickr An orangutan named Sandra has become the first non-human animal recognized as a person in a court of law. The Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights, an animal advocacy group, had asked Argentine courts recognize the 28-year-old great ape’s right to freedom from unjust imprisonment. On Friday, an appeals court declared that Sandra, who is owned by the Buenos Aires Zoo, is a “non-human person” who has been wrongfully deprived of her freedom.

Sandra, who was born in German zoo and sent to Argentina two decades ago, at an age when wild orangutans are still living at their mother’s side, won’t be given complete freedom. Having lived her entire life in captivity, Sandra likely could not survive in the wild. The decision may have ramifications for other great apes. Tool use in crocodylians: crocodiles and alligators use sticks as lures to attract waterbirds. Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) at Madras Crocodile Bank, Tamil Nadu, India, with sticks on its head.

Tool use in crocodylians: crocodiles and alligators use sticks as lures to attract waterbirds

What's going on here? Read on. Photo by Vladinir Dinets, from Dinets et al. (2013). History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places. Chimps show empathy by mimicking pupil size - life - 22 August 2014. Chimpanzees and humans may share the same ability to empathise with other individuals by involuntarily matching their pupil size.

Chimps show empathy by mimicking pupil size - life - 22 August 2014

The mimicry only appears to work between two humans or between two chimpanzees but not between species, suggesting the signalling reinforces social bonds within species. We already know that pupils change shape in response to a new, unfamiliar target: they tend to constrict initially and, after a fraction of a second, readjust and dilate. What Bird Has the Coolest Song? Baroque-Era Drawings Reveal Early Ideas About Evolution.

So It Turns Out That Monkeys Are Pretty Good At Doing Math. Octopuses Gain Consciousness (According to Scientists’ Declaration) Octopus uses empty shells to hide; image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Nick Hobgood Elephants cooperate to solve problems.

Octopuses Gain Consciousness (According to Scientists’ Declaration)

Chimpanzees teach youngsters to make tools. Even octopuses seem to be able to plan. So should we humans really be surprised that “consciousness” probably does not only exist in us? This privileged state of subjective awareness in fact goes well beyond Homo sapiens, according to the new Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness (pdf), which was signed last month by a group of cognitive neuroscientists, computational neuroscientists, neuroanatomists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists who attended the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and non-Human Animals at Cambridge University in the U.K. “The weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness,” the scientists wrote. Bonobo genius makes stone tools like early humans did - life - 21 August 2012.

Video: Watch this bonobo go to all ends to get food Kanzi the bonobo continues to impress.

Bonobo genius makes stone tools like early humans did - life - 21 August 2012

Not content with learning sign language or making up "words" for things like banana or juice, he now seems capable of making stone tools on a par with the efforts of early humans. Eviatar Nevo of the University of Haifa in Israel and his colleagues sealed food inside a log to mimic marrow locked inside long bones, and watched Kanzi, a 30-year-old male bonobo chimp, try to extract it.

While a companion bonobo attempted the problem a handful of times, and succeeded only by smashing the log on the ground, Kanzi took a longer and arguably more sophisticated approach. Both had been taught to knap flint flakes in the 1990s, holding a stone core in one hand and using another as a hammer. Perhaps most remarkable about the tools Kanzi created is their resemblance to early hominid tools.

Goo-goo-gorillas have their own kind of baby talk - life - 01 June 2012. Video: Gorillas have their own baby talk.

Goo-goo-gorillas have their own kind of baby talk - life - 01 June 2012

Chimp Groups Have Cultural Differences. Like humans who might use a different slang term for "that's cool" or have distinct fashion sense, adjacent chimpanzee groups also show cultural differences, in this case, in their nut-cracking techniques, researchers have found.

Chimp Groups Have Cultural Differences

"In humans, cultural differences are an essential part of what distinguishes neighboring groups that live in very similar environments," study researcher Lydia Luncz, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, said in a statement. "For the first time, a very similar situation has been found in wild chimpanzees living in the Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire, demonstrating that they share with us the ability for fine-scale cultural differentiation.

" The researchers studied 45 chimpanzees from three different groups for the 2008, 2009 and 2010 nut-cracking seasons, as they use tools to open coula nuts from a tropical African tree of the same name. Listen: The Rare, Beautiful Songs of Bowhead Whales. The haunting sounds of bowhead whales, which sing their songs under Arctic ice through long, dark polar winters, have been recorded in unprecedented detail.

Listen: The Rare, Beautiful Songs of Bowhead Whales

The recordings reveal a vocal repertoire every bit as rich as better-studied humpback and sperm whales, and hint at complex social organizations and lifestyle patterns hidden until now by the bowheads’ extreme remoteness. Mothers Teach Chimp Kids 'Words' Captive chimpanzees learn from their mothers to call out to humans, new research suggests.

Mothers Teach Chimp Kids 'Words'

Those chimps raised by their moms were also most likely to use similar calls, from lip-smacking to blowing kisses. This teaching from mother to child is an example of "social learning," which played an important role in the development of human culture and language. While social learning of tool use has been seen in chimps before, "it has never really been shown for communication before," study researcher Jared Taglialatela, an assistant professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, told LiveScience. Before this study, he said, "social learning of communication signals was seen as unique to human language. "


Personality Might Be Genetically Encoded in Bee Brains. Tagged foraging bee, image courtesy of Zachary Huang/ Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are more than cookie-cutter drones, workers, foragers and queens. They might have individual personality differences similar to our own, according to new research. After studying hives—both in the wild and in the lab—and analyzing genetic and biochemical profiles of bees’ brains, researchers have found that some bees, like some humans, seem to be programmed to seek out new experiences, or novelty. Forager bees are in charge of gathering food outside of the hive, but not all of these bees, it seems, are inclined to strike out and go exploring for new flowers. Terrifying photos reveal first ever evidence of bears using tools.

Female bonobos have gay sex to improve their social status. The World's Weirdest Animals. The Angora rabbit is one of the oldest types of rabbit and hails from Ankara, Turkey. What it feels like to be surrounded by 2000 leaping dolphins. Alex the Parrot's Posthumous Paper Shows His Mathematical Genius. From Nature magazine Even in death, the world's most accomplished parrot continues to amaze. The final experiments involving Alex — an African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) trained to count objects — have just been published. They show that Alex could accurately add together two Arabic numerals to a sum of eight and the total number of objects under three cups, putting his mathematical abilities on par with (and maybe beyond) those of chimpanzees and other non-human primates.

The work appears in the journal Animal Cognition. Alex gained world renown for his ability to learn and voice labels for dozens of different objects and concepts, such as colour, size and quantity. Terrifying sex organs of male turtles. A Testudo tortoise and its large erect penis. Of the many unlikeable and inaccurate stereotypes maintained about animals in popular consciousness, among the most frustrating is what I term “old man turtle”. This is the idea that turtles (by which I mean, all members of Testudines) are like decrepit, weak, bony little old men housed inside a box. It’s not fair, and it’s not at all accurate. Here we look at just one aspect of turtle anatomy. In keeping with the stupid “old man turtle” idea, popular culture would have it that turtles are weak, flaccid, crappy organisms with dull social lives, stunted and barely functional internal organs and undersized sex organs.

Secret to Elephants' Thundering Calls Discovered. Elephants' deepest calls can thunder up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) away. Now, researchers have learned for the first time how the massive animals produce these sounds. It turns out that they do it in the same way that humans talk, pushing air through their vocal cords to make them vibrate. Elephants can go much lower than humans, however, because their vocal cords are eight times longer. "The sounds the elephants make are off the piano keyboard," said study researcher Christian Herbst, a voice scientist at the University of Vienna, Austria. In fact, at less than 20 hertz in frequency, the main components of these ultra-deep calls aren't detectable to the human ear. Glaucus atlanticus. Heartbreaking photographs capture the facial expressions of animals. While I am saddened by the fact that these animals are in peril in large part due to us, what really gets my blood pressure up is people that make comments along the lines you just did.

You make it clear that the survival of an animal species is worth more than any person's life, so what are you doing about it? Cat on boat plays with dolphins Exec Tours Bangkok. Magnetic Cells Give Sense of Direction to Fish. The magnetite (white) found in cells from the noses of rainbow trout was clustered near the cell’s membrane, not near the cell’s nucleus (blue).

The Nazi breeding program that resurrected an extinct species. Infinity Imagined. Tool-Using Fish Caught for First Time on Video. A fish using tools to crack open a stubborn clam shell has been caught on video for the first time. The clip, shot in 2009 off the Pacific island of Palau, shows an orange-dotted tuskfish (Choerodon anchoago) digging a clam out of the ocean floor and carrying the clam in its mouth to a rock. Tool-Using Fish Makes a Splash. Trippy Tales: The History of 8 Hallucinogens. Bird Intelligence & Animal Communication. Ravens use their beaks and wings much like humans rely on our hands to make gestures, such as for pointing to an object, scientists now find. This is the first time researchers have seen gestures used in this way in the wild by animals other than primates. From the age of 9 to 12 months, human infants often use gestures to direct the attention of adults to objects, or to hold up items so that others can take them.

Mind of the Raven: Investigations ... - Bernd Heinrich. Microscopic Monsters: Gallery of Ugly Bugs. 25% of Mammals at Risk of Extinction, IUCN Reports. About one in four mammal species are at risk of extinction, and the Western black rhino has officially been declared extinct, according to a new assessment of biodiversity by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and partners. For the latest update, researchers assessed the status of 61,900 species of plants and animals. Unlikely Pair: Fish Mimics Octopus that Mimics Fish. Watch a lowly fish mimic the incredible mimic octopus. Robotic Fish Reveal Surprising Stickleback Gene. Clever Canines: Dogs Can 'Read' Our Communication Cues. Dogs can understand our intent to communicate with them and are about as receptive to human communication as pre-verbal infants, a new study shows.

Researchers used eye-tracking technology to study how dogs observed a person looking at pots after giving the dogs communicative cues, such as eye contact and directed speech. Funny Facial Features Tell Monkeys Who's Who. Mimicry, Animal Cognition & Animal Communication. Detachable Penis, Cannibalistic Sex & Orb-Web Spiders. Sex can be dangerous, even deadly if your partner has plans to eat you. Fish Seen Using Tools. Fatboy Slim - Right Here, Right Now. Ужин с котом. Baboons are capable of understanding analogies. Orangutan populations develop different cultures just like humans.

What do spiders have to do with internet porn? How turtles sense Earth's drifting magnetic field. Spraying monkeys with "love hormone" makes them act nicer to each other. Grinning gorillas could help explain the origins of human laughter. This chimp will kick your ass at memory games — but how the hell does he do it? Chimp markets reveal evolution of friendship - life - 07 December 2011. Asombroso encuentro con un grupo de Gorilas de Montaña en Uganda. Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla (small version) Cold-blooded cognition: Tortoises quick on the uptake - life - 26 December 2011. Rats free each other from traps, then share chocolate - life - 08 December 2011.

Pigeons Can Follow Abstract Number-Counting Rules: Scientific American Podcast. Poop-Throwing Chimps Provide Hints of Human Origins. Biggest, Fastest, Bloodiest: Earth's Most Extreme Insects. Underwater Noise Disturbs Whales 120 Miles Away. Inches to metres: how the metric system was born. Why do scorpions glow in the dark (and could their whole bodies be one big eye)? Dogs Understand Us Better Than Chimps Do. Ocean bacteria glow to turn themselves into bait. Bonobos: the self-domesticated ape? Current Biology - Culture and Geographic Variation in Orangutan Behavior. Bromancing Baboons. Should Gay, Endangered Penguins Be Forced to Mate?

I'm the chimpion! Ape trounces the best of the human world in memory competition. Internet Porn Fills Gap in Spider Taxonomy. 14 Fun Facts About Elephants. Behold the first movie ever made for chimpanzees. High-speed videography reveals how mosquitoes fly in the rain. 14 Fun Facts About Dragonflies. Ostrich Penis Clears Up Evolutionary Mystery.

Jumping Spiders Use Blurry Vision to Catch Quick Prey with Precision [Video] Top 10 Real-Life Body Snatchers. Q&A with Discoverers of Beetle Sex with Beer Bottles. <i>Apes as Family</i>: the first film made for chimps. Zoologger: The first reptile with a true placenta - life - 06 October 2011. An Underwater Wizard: The Mimic Octopus. Fish may have started walking underwater - life - 12 December 2011. Myanmar snub-nosed monkey caught on camera. Zoologger: Don't bite – how the zebra got its stripes - life - 09 February 2012. Spider play sex isn't all fun and games - life - 01 November 2011. Zoologger: The only cross-dressing bird of prey - life - 09 November 2011. Apps for apes: Orang-utans want iPads for Christmas - tech - 28 December 2011.

The only primate to communicate in pure ultrasound - life - 08 February 2012. Bedbugs Get Away with Incest. Animal cognition.