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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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Songbirds Return to North America | @GrrlScientist

Songbirds Return to North America | @GrrlScientist | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The Migratory Connectivity Project seeks to connect people and cultures throughout the Americas by fostering the public’s appreciation for migratory birds
Did you know the coast of Texas is a critically important place for migratory birds in the U.S.
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Well | Guinea Pigs Are Autistic Child's Best Friend - New York Times (blog)

Well | Guinea Pigs Are Autistic Child's Best Friend - New York Times (blog) | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Studies show that interactions at school make the student calmer and more willing to be there.

Via Mark E. Deschaine, PhD
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Are killer whales persons?: The more we learn about orcas, the more our assumption of innate superiority looks like a presumption

Are killer whales persons?: The more we learn about orcas, the more our assumption of innate superiority looks like a presumption | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
They have big brains, complex social structures, rich emotional lives -- how can we still hold them captive?
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Do Rats Dream of a Journey to a Brighter Future?

Researchers report rats simulate journeys to areas they have not been able to reach while at rest.
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Decoding the Remarkable Algorithms of Ants | Quanta Magazine

Decoding the Remarkable Algorithms of Ants |  Quanta Magazine | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The biologist Deborah Gordon has uncovered how ant colonies search efficiently without central organization, an insight that might improve computer networks.

Via Bernard Ryefield
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No need for sophisticated hunting techniques: Equatorial bats live the easy life

No need for sophisticated hunting techniques: Equatorial bats live the easy life | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Most of the world's bats use extremely sophisticated hunting techniques, but not bats around the equator. They use pretty much the same less sophisticated hunting techniques as their ancestors did millions of years ago.
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How watching a cute animal video makes the world a better place ...and more empathic.

How watching a cute animal video makes the world a better place ...and more empathic. | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

Does owning a pet or even watching those ubiquitous YouTube animal videos make us more empathetic? Apparently so. Loving those creatures may unlock ways to make you less lonely and make the world a better place.


"Interacting with a pet can increase oxytocin, beta-endorphin and dopamine levels as well as reduce cortisol levels — powerful neurochemicals that can lower our blood pressure and make us feel happier, better and more relaxed," says Rebecca A. Johnson, a professor and director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.


Oxytocin, often called the "love" or "trust" hormone because of the feelings it triggers when we kiss or fall in love, also promotes social bonding.


By ALENE DAWSON


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Bass use body's swimming muscles to suck in food

Bass use body's swimming muscles to suck in food | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Fish are power eaters. In many species, large muscles running along their backs and bellies provide bursts of speed for chasing down prey.
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Animal Cognition, Intelligence & Cultural Behavior | Study.com

Animal Cognition, Intelligence & Cultural Behavior | Study.com | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Intelligence and culture are values frequently used to gauge the complexity and sentience of animals. Here we will examine the basics of animal cognition, how their intelligence is demonstrated, and examples of cultural behavior.
Defining Intelligence
Humans are very intelligent, this we know. The most intelligent of all animals on Earth, at least by the ways we measure intelligence. The more we learn about other animals' intelligence, and the more we try to define intelligence even among humans, the more we are amazed and befuddled by it! Human intelligence is generally measured by IQ, or intelligence quotient. This is measured by taking a series of tests. But, how do you make animals take IQ tests, so that we can measure their intelligence? We really can't, though we can measure their intelligence in other ways. These include assessing their sense of self-awareness, their capacity for problem-solving, and even an anatomical measurement of their brain size and complexity. The presence of emotional behaviors among animals can also be an indicator of intelligence. Some scientists argue that this is too narrow of a definition of intelligence, based too closely on human attributes and adaptations. However intelligence is defined, it is, itself, an evolutionary adaptation for all animals, including humans, that is utilized in different ways based upon environment, physiology, and ecological roles.
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Spotted: One Of The Most Rarely Seen Animals On Earth

Spotted: One Of The Most Rarely Seen Animals On Earth | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
For the love of animals. Pass it on.

Via Kathy Dowsett
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The Soul of an Octopus: Getting to know an intelligent mollusc

The Soul of an Octopus: Getting to know an intelligent mollusc | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The giant Pacific octopus is considered so fearsome that few dare engage with it, but in her new book Sy Montgomery recounts a playful and peculiar nature
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Move over Lassie: Tests reveal pigs can outsmart dogs and chimpanzees: also have empathy

Move over Lassie: Tests reveal pigs can outsmart dogs and chimpanzees:  also have empathy | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

The study's authors say while we tend to place pigs in a lower category to animals such as dogs and cats, they are in fact, just as smart and empathic – and should be treated as such....


A study earlier this year also found pigs have empathy. Researchers in the Netherlands housed pigs in 16 groups of six, training two of the animals in each of the groups...


University of Portsmouth research has shown that orangutans can be so full of empathy that they take on the moods of others. When one orangutan laughs, others often join in. They have complex social lives, with pigs often learning from one another...


 By ELLIE ZOLFAGHARIFARD


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Citizen Scientists Needed for the Vanishing Firefly Project

Citizen Scientists Needed for the Vanishing Firefly Project | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
By Erin Weeks Finding a mate can be hard enough in the animal kingdom, but nocturnal creatures face an added difficulty -- locating potential partners in the dark. It’s a problem many insects have ...
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Early exposure to cat urine makes mice less likely to escape from cats

Early exposure to cat urine makes mice less likely to escape from cats | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Mice that are exposed to the powerful smell of cat urine early in life do not escape from cats later in life. Researchers at the A. N.
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This Is The One Thing That People Never Understand About Cats

This Is The One Thing That People Never Understand About Cats | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
You probably don’t know your cat as well as you think you do. According to a recent survey of cat owners in the UK, most people are pretty clueless about their cats’ lives.
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Florida sea turtle recovery astonishes scientists

Florida sea turtle recovery astonishes scientists | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Sometimes, you just need to give nature a fighting chance.
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This One-Ton Fish Is One of Nature's Most Improbable Creations

This One-Ton Fish Is One of Nature's Most Improbable Creations | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The ocean sunfish is so improbable that even it looks astonished that it exists. The size alone is crazy. It can weigh up to 2,200 pounds, and grow to be the size of a small car that has been squashed flat by a larger car.
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Madagascar's lemurs cling to survival - BBC News

Madagascar's lemurs cling to survival - BBC News | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The famous lemurs of Madagascar face such severe threats to their survival that none of them may be left in the wild within 25 years.
That stark warning comes from one of the world's leading specialists in the iconic animals.
Deforestation and hunting are taking an increasing toll, according to Professor Jonah Ratsimbazafy, director of GERP, a centre for primate research in Madagascar.
"My heart is broken," he told the BBC, "because the situation is getting worse as more forests disappear every year. That means the lemurs are in more and more trouble."
So far 106 species of lemur have been identified and nearly all of them are judged to be at risk of extinction, many of them critically endangered.
The habitats they depend on - mostly a variety of different kinds of forest - only exist in Madagascar.

Via pdeppisch
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Why do we think infant animals are so cute?

Why do we think infant animals are so cute? | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Over 50 years ago, ethologist Konrad Lorenz proposed that infants appear cute so that parents are attracted to them and motivated to care for them.
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Shared decision-making drives collective movement in wild baboons

How do groups of animals, including humans, make decisions that affect the entire group? Evidence collected from schooling animals suggests that the process is somewhat democratic, with nearest neighbors and the majority shaping overall collective behavior. In animals with hierarchical social structures such as primates or wolves, however, such democracy may be complicated by dominance. Strandburg-Peshkin et al. monitored all the individuals within a baboon troop continuously over the course of their daily activities. Even within this highly socially structured species, movement decisions emerged via a shared process. Thus, democracy may be an inherent trait of collective behavior.


Shared decision-making drives collective movement in wild baboons
Ariana Strandburg-Peshkin, Damien R. Farine, Iain D. Couzin, Margaret C. Crofoot

Science 19 June 2015:
Vol. 348 no. 6241 pp. 1358-1361
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaa5099 


Via Complexity Digest
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"Thus, democracy may be an inherent trait of collective behavior."

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Empathic Rats: Recent research showing rodents' concern for their fellow species suggests empathy

Empathic Rats: Recent research showing rodents' concern for their fellow species suggests empathy | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
For a long time, it was thought that empathy was unique to primates, or even humans. But in the past few years, several experiments seem to indicate rats and mice feel each other's pain, too.

Catching Emotions

The simplest form of empathy is known as emotional contagion. It's a phenomenon where one individual's emotions spread to other individuals nearby. For instance, if one baby in a nursery cries, it triggers the other babies in the room to cry as well. Emotional contagion allows humans and other animals to share emotional experiences, and there is strong evidence it exists in rodents.


by Mary Bates


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Hawkmoths Slow Brain to Dine in the Night

Hawkmoths Slow Brain to Dine in the Night | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

Getting food can be tough for all sorts of animals, but the hawkmoth has a particular challenge. It feeds at dusk by inserting a long proboscis into a flower to drink nectar.

Simon Sponberg, an assistant professor in the physics department at Georgia Tech, who reported on the moth’s visual abilities last week in Science, said the moths must maintain a hovering position, “while they’re feeding from a flower with a proboscis that can be as long as their body while the flower is moving in the wind.”

They need to see that flower clearly. And they are “doing it at light levels at which we’d have trouble seeing the hand in front of our face,” Dr. Sponberg said.

He along with Thomas L. Daniel, with whom he studied the moths at the University of Washington before moving to Georgia Tech, and colleagues reported that one of the ways the moths seem to cope with near darkness is to slow visual processing in their brains.

As if they were using a slower shutter speed in a camera, they are able to allow their brains to gather more light.

Dr. Sponberg’s interest is in understanding how animals “move through their world with grace and agility” and why engineering something similar for robots is so hard. And that involves pairing how the brain works with the physics of how animals move.

There was previous evidence that visual processing could slow down in hawkmoths, but no test of whether this was occurring while feeding in low light.

So Dr. Sponberg and his colleagues designed robotic flowers and used high-speed video to record the moths’ feeding behavior. If visual processing was slowed down in low light, then faster motion should be harder to detect for the moth, in the same way fast action is blurred in a photograph at a slow shutter speed.

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AMAZING! Orangutan asks girl for help in sign language

http://InYourPalm.org - TAKE ACTION TODAY TO STAND WITH THE LAST WILD ORANGUTANS. **Now with english captions for the hearing impaired. More languages coming...

Via Andrew Clarke
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Some Intriguing New Hints About What Ant Consciousness Is Really Like

Some Intriguing New Hints About What Ant Consciousness Is Really Like | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
They build cities. They farm. They make war. Ants do a lot of things that seem uncannily human — and yet they’re profoundly alien, part of a hive mind called a social organism. What does that feel like to each individual ant?
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