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Animal assisted therapy reduces stress levels

Animal assisted therapy reduces stress levels | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Studies support that companion animals or animal assisted therapy may help reduce stress experienced by people at different times in their life.
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animals and prosocial capacities
Prosocial capacities shared by humans and other species: empathy, reciprocity, altruism, bonding, play, tool use, communication
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Dog and Goose Both Hated Everyone Until They Found Each Other

Dog and Goose Both Hated Everyone Until They Found Each Other | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Darling story from the U.K. about an angry dog and a negative goose who find true love and change their ways.
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Smarter than a first-grader?

Smarter than a first-grader? | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
In Aesop's fable about the crow and the pitcher, a thirsty bird happens upon a vessel of water, but when he tries to drink from it, he finds the water level out of his reach.
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Dogs Get Jealous, Too

Dogs Get Jealous, Too | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Dog owners were right all along. Our pups really do get jealous when we direct our affection elsewhere—even to a fake dog.
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The Fight To Protect Whales Against The Navy's Noise Pollution

The Fight To Protect Whales Against The Navy's Noise Pollution | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The author of a new book that criticizes the U.S Navy’s excessive use of active sonar in the ocean spoke with HuffPost Live about how the noise pollution is harming whales.

Joshua Horwitz spoke with host Ricky Camilleri about his new book W...

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Priest Lake area male grizzly collared for research - The Spokesman Review

Priest Lake area male grizzly collared for research - The Spokesman Review | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it


A 430-pound grizzly bear has been trapped by researchers and fitted with a transmitting collar north of Priest Lake.

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19 Little Babies And Their Big Ol' Lovable Dog Friends

19 Little Babies And Their Big Ol' Lovable Dog Friends | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
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Scientists develop new bird chirp decoding system

Scientists develop new bird chirp decoding system | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Studying bird songs could help us understand how human language evolved
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Psychic Animals and Football-Playing Bees | Not bad science, Scientific American Blog Network

Psychic Animals and Football-Playing Bees | Not bad science, Scientific American Blog Network | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Working in the field of animal behaviour means that around World Cup season it's hard to avoid being sent links to so-called 'psychic' animals that predict ...
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The Ulterior Motive In Baboon Grooming

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Penguins in Norway in danger of overheating

Penguins in Norway in danger of overheating | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Zookeepers at the Bergen aquarium are taking extraordinary precautions to keep the birds cool
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Chimps use gestures to communicate and scientists have a dictionary for it

Chimps use gestures to communicate and scientists have a dictionary for it | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Scientists have put together a new kind of dictionary that contains 66 gestures for several different social meanings, such as “come closer,” “groom me,” and “flirt with me.”

Via Charles Tiayon
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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, July 11, 8:07 AM

Chimpanzees have a pretty complex language of gestures for communicating, including stomping their feet to say "stop that," showing the sole of a foot for "climb on me," and chewing on a leaf to call for sexual attention, according to a new dictionary of basic chimp language compiled by researchers in Scotland.

Anthropologists Dr. Catherine Hobaiter and Professor Richard Byrne of the University of St. Andrew in Scotland used a method called focal behavior sampling to analyze more than 4,500 gestures in 3,400 interactions made between 80 chimps in the Sonzo community in Uganda's Bondongo Forest to come up with 66 gestures used for 19 different meanings. All gestures were recorded on film using a Sony Handycam between 2007 and 2009. Their findings were recentlypublished in the Current Biology journal.

"There is abundant evidence that chimpanzees and other apes gesture with purpose," says Prof. Byrne. "Apes target their gestures to particular individuals, choosing appropriate gestures according to whether the other is looking or not - they stop gesturing when they get the result they want. And otherwise they keep going, trying out alternative gestures or other tactics altogether."

Some of the gestures were used to communicate simple meanings, such as "move away" for punching the ground or "get object" for stroking the mouth. Other gestures, like many words in the English language, have multiple meanings. Grasping another chimp sometimes means "climb on me," but it can also indicate "stop" or even "go away." Or when a chimp slaps one object against another, it could mean it either wants another chimp to follow or to move closer.

What is notable, however, is that the gestures used to communicate different meanings remained the same "irrespective of who uses them," says Dr. Hobaiter. Seventeen out of all 19 meanings extracted by the researchers were meant for initiating social contact, such as "travel with me," "climb on you," and "let's get frisky."  

It has long been known that chimpanzees use gestures to communicate with one another, but this is the first time humans have attempted to decipher the meaning of these gestures and compile them into the first dictionary of chimpanzee language.

In a separate study also published in Current Biology, Switzerland's University of Neuchatel primatologists Emilie Genty and Klaus Zuberbuhler discovered that a specific gesture used by bonobos is meant to initiate mating. The complicated gesture involves stretching one arm towards the desired partner, sweeping it inwards and twirling the wrist to turn the downward-facing palm upside.

The researchers recorded 1,080 sexual gestures made by a total of 18 males and 17 females in two bonobo communities living in the Lola Ya sanctuary in Congo. 

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Baboons groom early in the day to get benefits later

Baboons groom early in the day to get benefits later | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Social animals often develop relationships with other group members to reduce aggression and gain access to scarce resources. In wild chacma baboons the strategy for grooming activities shows a certain pattern across the day.
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Victory for Loggerhead Sea Turtles: Vast Area of Habitat Gains Protection

Victory for Loggerhead Sea Turtles: Vast Area of Habitat Gains Protection | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Today, the federal government designated thousands of miles of beaches and open ocean around the southeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States as critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles. The area, w

Via Kathy Dowsett
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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, July 12, 12:12 AM

Option topic: Marine environments

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Citizen Scientists Saving Snow Leopards

Citizen Scientists Saving Snow Leopards | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
WWF has found a way to protect the snow leopard while also benefiting nomadic herders. As part of the USAID-funded Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities (AHM) project, local herders like Byambatsooj are now being trained and equipped to collect basic data on the remote mountains they know better than anyone else.

Via Wildforests, pdeppisch
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Dogs Who Mourn: Meet 4 Who Openly Grieved the Loss of Their Humans

Dogs Who Mourn: Meet 4 Who Openly Grieved the Loss of Their Humans | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Who says dogs don't grieve? Meet four devoted dogs who reacted with obvious sadness and distress to the devastating loss of their human companions.
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Canine Science: A Trend You Can Easily Get Behind | Dog Spies, Scientific American Blog Network

Canine Science: A Trend You Can Easily Get Behind | Dog Spies, Scientific American Blog Network | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Most trends I can’t get behind. Hammer pants should have stayed in the 1980s and 1990s and far away from 2014 (there, I said it). Sure, ...
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Why do honeybees love hexagons? - Zack Patterson and Andy Peterson

Why do honeybees love hexagons? - Zack Patterson and Andy Peterson | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Honeybees are some of nature’s finest mathematicians. Not only can they calculate angles and comprehend the roundness of the earth, these smart insects build and live in one of the most mathematically efficient architectural designs around: the beehive. Zack Patterson and Andy Peterson delve into the very smart geometry behind the honeybee’s home.

Via Ashish Umre
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Dog owners over the age of 65 act 10 years younger than their biological age

Dog owners over the age of 65 act 10 years younger than their biological age | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
(Medical Xpress)—Owning a dog makes older people fitter and healthier, according to new research from the University of St Andrews.
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The mystery behind starling flocks explained

The mystery behind starling flocks explained | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
(Phys.org) —The mystery behind the movements of flocking starlings could be explained by the areas of light and dark created as they fly, new research suggests.
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Dodos and spotted green pigeons are descendants of an island hopping bird

Dodos and spotted green pigeons are descendants of an island hopping bird | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The mysterious spotted green pigeon (Caloenas maculata) was a relative of the dodo, according to scientists who have examined its genetic make-up.
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Small Animals Live in a Slow-Motion World

Small Animals Live in a Slow-Motion World | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

One “dog year” supposedly equals seven human years. But does one year feel like seven years to a dog? Evidence suggests that distinct species do indeed experience passing time on different scales. A recent study in Animal Behavior reveals that body mass and metabolic rate determine how animals of different species perceive time.


Time perception depends on how rapidly an animal's nervous system processes sensory information. To test this ability, researchers show animals a rapidly flashing light. If the light flashes quickly enough, animals (and humans) perceive it as a solid, unblinking light. The animal's behavior or its brain activity, as measured by electrodes, reveals the highest frequency at which each species perceives the light as flashing. Animals that can detect the blinking at higher frequencies are perceiving time at a finer resolution. In other words, movements and events will appear to unfold more slowly to them—think slow-motion bullet dodging in an action movie.


The scientists who ran the new study gathered data from previous experiments on the rate at which visual information is processed in 34 vertebrates, including lizards, birds, fish and mammals. The scientists hypothesized that the ability to detect incoming sights at a high rate would be advantageous for animals that must perform the equivalent of bullet dodging—responding to visual stimuli very quickly to catch elusive prey or escape predators, for instance. These animals tend to be lighter and have faster metabolisms. The data bore out the hypothesis: species that perceived time at the finest resolutions tended to be smaller and have faster metabolisms.


These findings show that differences in how a mouse and an elephant sense time are not arbitrary but rather are finely tuned by interactions with their surroundings. A link between time perception, body structure and physiology suggests that different nervous systems have developed to balance pressures from the natural environment with energy conservation. Rapid perception might be essential for a hawk but would waste a whale's precious energy. As for Fido, a year really does seem longer to him than it does to you, but probably not by a factor of seven. Dogs can take in visual information at least 25 percent faster than humans—just enough to make a television show look like a series of flickering images.


Via Wildforests, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Donna Farren's curator insight, July 17, 7:28 AM

As a cat lover I found this interesting ...

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The Cat & The Ducklings (Animal Odd Couples) - YouTube

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Gorgeous Slow-Mo of the Machine-Like Beauty of Honeybees in Flight

Gorgeous Slow-Mo of the Machine-Like Beauty of Honeybees in Flight | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Photographer Michael Sutton spent hours getting up close and personal with a hive of honey bees at Hillside Apiaries in New Hampshire. He got stung three times. But he also got this gorgeous slo-mo footage of honey bees in flight.
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Some chimps smarter than others, say scientists

Some chimps smarter than others, say scientists | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
A study of chimpanzees' cognitive abilities suggest that some chimps are more intelligent than others, with genetic influences accounting for about half of the variability, say researchers.

Via Charles Tiayon
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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, July 11, 7:17 AM

Chimpanzees don't just get their smarts by aping others — chimps, like humans, inherit a significant amount of their intelligence from their parents, new research reveals.

Researchers measured how well 99 captive chimpanzees performed on a series of cognitive tests, finding that genes determined as much as 50 percent of the animals' performance.

"Genes matter," said William Hopkins, a neuroscientist at Georgia State University in Atlanta and co-author of the study published today (July 10) in the journal Current Biology. [The 5 Smartest Non-Primates on the Planet]

"We have what we would call a smart chimp, and chimps we'd call not so smart," Hopkins told Live Science, and "we were able to explain a lot of that variability by who was related to each other."

Animal 'intelligence'

People don't usually talk about animal intelligence, but rather animal learning or cognition. American psychologists John Watson and B.F. Skinner developed the notion of behaviorism in the early 20th century, which said that scientists should study only the behavior of animals, not their mental processes. This was the dominant approach until about 1985.

But in the last few decades, studies have shown convincingly that animals are capable of cognition. What remained unknown was the mechanism behind it, Hopkins said. Many studies of human twins suggest that intelligence is heritable, but few studies have looked at whether this is true in other primates.

In the new study, Hopkins and his colleagues gave chimpanzees at the Yerkes Primate Center, in Atlanta, a battery of cognitive tests adapted from ones developed by German researchers for comparing humans and great apes. The tests measured a range of abilities in physical cognition, such as the ability to discriminate quantity, spatial memory and tool use. The tests also examined aspects of social cognition, such as communication ability.

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How much do you know about whales?

How much do you know about whales? | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
These giants of the sea are fascinating and unique. Test your trivia knowledge about them!

Via Kathy Dowsett
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