Visiting Nantucket a few years ago, I was dismayed to hear some of the island’s wealthy retirees complaining that the damned piping plovers were keeping them from their chosen fishing spots. The plovers, small beach-nesting birds, are a threatened species along the Atlantic coast and endangered in the Midwest. And I had naively assumed that people with the money to summer in one of the world’s priciest destinations might have a little sympathy for birds that barely manage to survive at all on the open beach.
Not so. The recreational anglers were determined to drive their off-road vehicles out the sandy spit of land called Great Point to their favorite surfcasting spots, and they were enraged that designated protected areas and buffer zones around plover nests blocked certain areas in breeding season.
Young said his research points to a potential role for oxytocin in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder, though more work is needed. “
We now have the opportunity to explore in detail the neural mechanisms underlying empathetic responses in a laboratory rodent with clear implications for humans.”
According to study co-author Frans de Waal, who first discovered animal consolation behavior in chimpanzees in 1979, the findings also shed new light on the range of animals that feel empathy, and how empathy is separate from complex cognition.
Scientists have been reluctant to attribute empathy to animals, often assuming selfish motives,” he said.
Starting 2016 in debt was not the vision that I had, but it's my reality. The pack needed to be fed, the chained dogs needed their housing winterized, the medical fosters needed follow up vet appointments..... And the hits just keep coming. Tomorrow is Friday. I will need to feed roughly 50 souls...
Radiocarbon dating of atomic bomb fallout found in sea turtle shells can be used to reliably estimate the ages, growth rates and reproductive maturity of sea turtle populations in the wild, a new study led by Duke University ...
New research has found that dogs can mimic the expressions of people and other dogs, and show basic signs of empathy.
They are known as 'man’s best friend', and new research from Italy is attempting to prove that statement has more scientific evidence to support it than we might think.
According to a study by the Royal Society Open Science, dogs can instantly mimic each other’s facial expressions, as well as that of their owners and other humans they interact with.
As part of the research, 49 dogs were filmed playing in a dog park - with their playful behaviour noted in various forms: such as when a dog keeps its mouth open and relaxed, or when it crouches on its front legs and wags its tail.
That’s one small jump for a fish, but a big leap for fish kind. Needlefish have been seen shooting out of the water before smashing into schools of unsuspecting prey in the waters near Heron Island and North Stradbroke Island in Queensland, Australia. “This is, as far as we know, the first time anyone has described a fish jumping out of the water to attack submerged prey,” says Ryan Day of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia.
Needlefish live and feed close to the surface in tropical and temperate coastal waters. They are noted for tail walking on the water’s surface, and leaping out at speeds of up to 65 kilometres an hour to escape predators such as dolphins. It’s not unheard of for these projectile fish to injure unfortunate humans in their path. Now it seems they can employ their leaping aptitude to hunt smaller fish, which they usually stalk at a distance of about 1 to 2 meters. The initial approach is easy, but it’s the last meter or so that really counts. Day suspects the strategy allows them to extend their attack range four-fold by disappearing just before they strike. “Once it leaps out of the water, it is essentially invisible, pretty much until it crashes through the water,” he says.
When needlefish try to attack prey without jumping, their attack range is about 50 centimetres. With the leap, this extends to about 2 metres, making it tougher for the prey to escape, Day says. Needlefish are not the only ones that can leap above the water’s surface. Their relatives from the Beloniformesfamily, such as flying fish and halfbeaks, do it too, but for them the manoeuvre is a way to evade predators rather than attack prey. Stalking less aquatic prey, African tigerfish have been spotted leaping to grab flying birds.
Killing worn-out cells helps middle-aged mice live longer, healthier lives, a new study suggests. Removing those worn-out or “senescent” cells increased the median life span of mice from 24 to 27 percent over that of rodents in which senescent cells built up normally with age, Mayo Clinic researchers report online February 3 in Nature. Clearing senescent cells also improved heart and kidney function, the researchers found.
If the results hold up in people, they could lead to an entirely new way to treat aging, says gerontology and cancer researcher Norman Sharpless at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. Most prospective antiaging treatments would require people to take a drug for decades. Periodically zapping senescent cells might temporarily turn back the clock and improve health for people who are already aging, he says. “If this paper is right, I believe it will be one of the most important aging papers ever,” Sharpless says.
Senescent cells are ones that have ceased to divide and do their usual jobs. Instead, they hunker down and pump out inflammatory chemicals that may damage surrounding tissues and promote further aging. “They’re zombie cells,” says Steven Austad, a biogerontologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. ”They’ve outlived their usefulness. They’re bad.”
Cancer biologist Jan van Deursen of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues devised the strategy for eliminating senescent cells by making the cells commit suicide. A protein called p16 builds up in senescent cells, the researchers had previously discovered. The team hooked up a gene for a protein that causes cells to kill themselves to DNA that helps turn on p16 production, so that whenever p16 was made the suicide protein was also made.
The suicide protein needs a partner chemical to actually kill cells, though. Once mice were a year old — 40 to 60 years old in human terms — the researchers started injecting them with the partner chemical. Mice got injections about every three days for six months. Mice that got the cell-suicide cocktail were compared with genetically engineered mice that were injected with a placebo mix.
Senescent cells were easier to kill in some organs than others, the researchers found. Colon and liver senescent cells weren’t killed, for instance. But age-related declines in the function of organs in which the treatment worked — eyes, fat, heart and kidney —were slowed.
Genetic engineering and regular shots would not be feasible for use in people, but several companies are developing drugs that might clear the zombie cells from humans, Austad says. Some side effects to the treatment in mice also would be important to consider if those drugs are ever used in people. Senescent cells have previously been shown to be needed for wound healing, and mice that got the killing cocktail couldn’t repair wounds as well as those that didn’t get the treatment. Once treatment stopped, the mice were able to heal normally again. That result suggests that people undergoing senescent-cell therapy might need to stop temporarily to heal wounds from surgery or accidents.
Until now, consolation has only been observed in relatively large brained animals—apes, elephants, dogs, and some large birds.
This study shows for the first time, however, that animals as small as rodents are capable of empathetic behaviors that extend beyond just ensuring their offspring survive, to actually helping others around them that are in need.
“Consolation might be present in many more animal species than was previously thought,” says James Burkett, a neuroscientist at Emory University and lead author of the study...
“This does not mean animals experience empathy in the same way we do, but the basic foundation for empathy and consolation may be present in many more species than once thought.”
Urban Growth The rapid global urban population growth seen in the last 65 years, from 746 million to 3.9 billion in 2014, has had significant impacts on bat species richness and abundance (WUP 2014, Kunz et al 2007), due to habitat loss, fragmentation,...
In Florida carpenter ant colonies, distinct worker castes called minors and majors exhibit pronounced differences in social behavior throughout their lives. In a new study published today in Science, a multi-institution team ...
Research, such as that reported in Kate Stewart and Matthew Cole’s book, Our Children and Other Animals: The Cultural Construction of Human-Animal Relations in Childhood, shows how children have a great capacity for empathy for and desire to protect nonhuman animals and how we, as a society teach our children a separate morality for animals used for food.
This is evidenced by children’s affinity for many nonhuman animals. Our social norms often pressure children and adults to disconnect from their empathy and compassion for other animals. And that is shown by our media and food traditions.
Dr Jolyon Troscianko, from the University of Exeter, and Dr Christian Rutz, from the University of St Andrews, have captured first video recordings documenting how these tropical corvids fashion these particularly complex ...
"The ancestors of all modern birds, from the hummingbird to the majestic bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus, seen here as a young adult), lived on a supercontinent in the Southern Hemisphere about 95 million years ago, a new study suggests."
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