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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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Sick Ants Seek Out Medicinal Food

Sick Ants Seek Out Medicinal Food | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Healthy ants wanted nothing to do with free-radical-rich foodstuff, but ants exposed to a pathogenic fungus sought the stuff, which upped their odds of survival. Christopher Intagliata reports.
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Fighting wildlife smuggling, one DNA test at a time

Fighting wildlife smuggling, one DNA test at a time | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

In 2003, João Miguel Folgosa walked into the Recife/Guararapes–Gilberto Freyre International Airport in Brazil with a ticket to Lisbon in his hand and five nylon stockings wrapped around his abdomen. They held 58 eggs, carefully packed in paper napkins underneath his shirt. He headed toward the departure lounge and waited to board his flight, but federal police officers recognized him as the leader of an international gang of wildlife trafficking and swooped in. After his arrest, Folgosa claimed he was carrying quail eggs. Authorities suspected they were actually parrot eggs, bound for the exotic pet market. But there was no way to tell who was right, because the confiscated eggs never hatched. Folgosa was released a few days later.


Via Integrated DNA Technologies
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Climate change may have driven dog evolution

Climate change may have driven dog evolution | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
It's possible that a shifting climate millions of years ago helped make dogs what they are today.

Via SustainOurEarth
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Horses Smile and Pout Just Like Humans, Study Says

Horses Smile and Pout Just Like Humans, Study Says | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

Horse faces share some surprising similarities to human faces, shows a curious new study published in the journal PLOS ONEAfter dissecting a horse head, analyzing its musculature, and scrutinizing 15 hours of horse video footage, a group of researchers managed to map out every possible facial expression a horse could make. It turns out our faces are a lot more similar than we think.


“Horses and humans are distantly related and have such differently shaped faces that I personally thought there would be really no similarities,” says study author Jennifer Wathan, a PhD candidate in social cognition and communication in horses at the University of Sussex in the U.K. “But there was a surprising amount of similarities.”


For the first time, Wathan and her colleagues created a full map of a horse face using a technique called the Facial Action Coding Systems (FACS). It’s a tool for objectively measuring facial movement, without letting subjective interpretations of facial expressions get in the way.


Humans have a FACS (we make 27 separate facial movements), and so do chimpanzees (they make 13) and dogs (16 for them). But horses had even more: 17 facial movements in total. “Most people who have horses know they are expressive and use their ears a lot, but I’ve got to admit, I was really surprised by the extent to which they use their face,” Wathan says. “They’ve got a huge facial repertoire.”


Humans also pull the corners of their lips back—also known as smiling—sort of like horses do. “It seems to be part of the submissive gesture,” she says, and younger horses tend to do it to older horses. Finally, both humans and horses widen their eyes in fear.


Findings like these can help us understand the evolution of complex communication between species—and they may suggest that using complex facial expressions to communicate is an ancient ability we shared with our last common ancestor with horses, or that the ability has evolved under the social pressure to communicate with important social partners, Wathan says.” Horses, like us, have a rich social life where effective communication would be to their advantage, she says.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Study Shows That Bears Cannot Bear Drones

Study Shows That Bears Cannot Bear Drones | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Scientists who want to monitor wildlife might just end up scaring the hell out of them.
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Octopus genome holds clues to uncanny intelligence

Octopus genome holds clues to uncanny intelligence | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

DNA sequence expanded in areas otherwise reserved for vertebrates.


Via Integrated DNA Technologies
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Deceptive woodpecker uses mimicry to avoid competition

Deceptive woodpecker uses mimicry to avoid competition | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Birds of a feather may flock together, but that doesn't mean they share a genetic background.
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New Anglerfish Proves Deep Sea Life is Just as Hideous as Ever

New Anglerfish Proves Deep Sea Life is Just as Hideous as Ever | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The deep ocean is home to some of the ugliest creatures imaginable, so this newly discovered anglerfish, which looks like a radioactive turkey leg with a spiny mouth face, is fitting in just swimmingly.
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Chimpanzees make monkeys of humans in computer game

Chimpanzees make monkeys of humans in computer game | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
When it comes to simple competitive games, chimps make a monkey out of humans and make a genius out of John Forbes Nash Jr.

Chimpanzees playing each other in a simple matching game outperformed human players, apparently by paying closer attention to opponents’ patterns and adjusting more optimally, according to a study published Wednesday in Scientific Reports.


Video: Two chimpanzees play a game in which each presses a left or right bar on a screen. If they match, one chimp gets a food reward. If they don't, the other chimp gets the reward. (Chris Martin/Primate Research Institute)


As a result, the chimps more often reached an equilibrium point described by Nash, where neither could do much better by adjusting strategy (think of all those frustrating stalemates in tic-tac-toe, for example).

Researchers believe the different outcomes could be the byproduct of a cognitive trade-off in the course of evolution. Humans left the trees and developed language, semantic thought and cooperation, while our distant cousins kept right on doing what made them so successful in the first place – competing, deceiving and manipulating.

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Chimps In Habeas Corpus Case Will No Longer Be Used For Research - NPR

Chimps In Habeas Corpus Case Will No Longer Be Used For Research - NPR | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Hercules and Leo were used for researched at Stony Brook University will be retired. They were at the center of a court case that tested whether chimps had the same legal "personhood" as humans.
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Service dogs for children with autism catching on in Kansas City - KSHB

Service dogs for children with autism catching on in Kansas City - KSHB | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Because there is no federal funding for the specially trained canines, getting an autism service dog takes a lot of time, money and patience.

Via Mark E. Deschaine, PhD
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Cognitive Rights for the Neighbors of Humanity

Cognitive Rights for the Neighbors of Humanity | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Unprecedented in human time is the realization that the sum of cognitive sentient life does not end with people. From scientific revelations about the inner workings of animal consciousness, to the hybridization of people and technology, to the development of artificial intelligence, the line of beings seeking admission to the big tent of "human" rights is getting longer. And personhood, the embodiment of human justice, is evolving from the fountainhead of cognitive rights.
The earth is host to innumerable species, from the durable extremophiles that inhabit lava tubes on the ocean floor to fresh water ephemera that exist for only a day. Their sheer numbers make mankind a minority in the biological catalog, but distinct in terms of intelligence. And since the departure of Neanderthals from the playing field, the high castle of human cognition has been unassailed. However, our perception of cognition is changing.
Homo sapien culture is the product of a million years in the trenches. In its wake have arisen animal rights and environmental laws protecting nonhuman species and the natural world. And despite their aspirations the intent behind these laws has yet to be fully realized.1
Beings on this planet exist beneath one integument that separates the inner life from the outer world. Even as humans occupy only a thin layer in this global membrane of sentience, science and technology are exposing the spectrum of nonhuman cognition.
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Humans or Non-Human Animals -- Who's More Rational?

Humans or Non-Human Animals -- Who's More Rational? | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
We are the only species known to deny overwhelming evidence -- about the dangers of smoking -- in ways that actually put us in greater danger. The emotional nature of human risk perception can sometimes produce a literally self-destructive irrationality. Non-human animals don't make such mistakes.
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WEBOXIDE _____________________________ Rahul Gupta's curator insight, August 28, 7:49 AM

The rational non-human display of #intelligence and #emotions vs irrational humanity

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Puppies Love Summertime Just Like You [VIDEO]

Puppies Love Summertime Just Like You [VIDEO] | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Rising temperatures, long days and crowded public pools. Summer is here and the puppies are ready.

We know why they call them "dog days," because puppies love summer.
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How a coughing ape is changing our ideas about animals, humans and language

How a coughing ape is changing our ideas about animals, humans and language | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Recent research on apes' ability to control their voices and breath challenges the idea that speech is strictly human.
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Befriending Strange Cats

A Step-by-Step Guide to Befriending Strange Cats | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
How should a stranger behave to a cat to become his friend? originally appeared on Quora, the best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge.
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Scientists Announce New Discovery in Fight to Save This Unreasonably Cute Bird

Scientists Announce New Discovery in Fight to Save This Unreasonably Cute Bird | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
We recognize that it’s important to save all kinds of species from extinction, but come on. Doesn’t it help when they’re adorable?
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Sand fleas have ability to change color in order to match dramatically different backgrounds

Sand fleas have ability to change color in order to match dramatically different backgrounds | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

Sand fleas have a remarkable ability to change color in order to match dramatically different backgrounds, according to a new study from the University of Exeter and the Ascension Island Government Conservation Department.

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This Animal Can Go Over a Decade Without Food

This Animal Can Go Over a Decade Without Food | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
This is the olm. It’s a blind cave salamander. Endangered in the wild, it is sometimes regarded as a pet, sometimes as a research subject—and sometimes as something to keep in the fridge for a decade.
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Protecting marine mammals at heart of new guidance for marine energy sector

Protecting marine mammals at heart of new guidance for marine energy sector | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Sea mammals, such as dolphins and grey seals, will be better protected from new wave and tidal energy developments, thanks to new guidance led by researchers at the University of St Andrews.

Via SustainOurEarth
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9 of the smartest animals on Earth

9 of the smartest animals on Earth | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

Humans aren't the only intelligent creatures on Earth. Meet 9 of the planet's cleverest creatures.


Via LeapMind
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#Science unlocks why #dogs are so happy to see you

Science unlocks why dogs are so happy to see you Aug. 03, 2015 - 3:51 - Certified dog trainer Andrea Arden explains.

Via CineversityTV
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Animal Cognition and Its Similarities to Human Cognition | Study.com

Animal Cognition and Its Similarities to Human Cognition | Study.com | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
In this lesson you willl learn about the relationship between animal cognition and human cognition. You will discover how some animal species demonstrate surprising abilities. You will also learn to avoid jumping to conclusions when it comes to understanding animal behavior.
Communicating a Memory
You're out in the woods one day and find the most fantastic treehouse you've ever seen. You make note of where you are and then head back home to tell your friends.

Your friends really want to see this treehouse. But you're too tired to go back, so you tell them how to find it. To do this, you could use many different methods. You might direct your friends to the spot using a compass or GPS, or you could recall your memory of landmarks and the travel-distance and time to the structure. Your friends set off into the woods in search of the treehouse. Since you've done a good job of explaining its location, they find it without a problem.

As a human being, this type of communication is considered a hallmark of what makes us unique. You just transferred complex information using your memory, a spatial map of the landscape, and a sense of time. Even if you relied solely on GPS, you are using a tool that the activity of human brains has created.

Do animals have similar abilities to remember this kind of information, to solve these types of problems, and to communicate their ideas to others in their species? In this lesson, we'll consider some research on animal cognition to help us answer this question.
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Caterpillar drugs ants to turn them into zombie bodyguards

Caterpillar drugs ants to turn them into zombie bodyguards | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

Docile ants become aggressive guard dogs after a secret signal from their caterpillar overlord. The idea turns on its head the assumption that the two species exchange favours in an even-handed relationship.


The caterpillars of the Japanese oakblue butterfly (Narathura japonica) grow up wrapped inside leaves on oak trees. To protect themselves against predators like spiders and wasps, they attract ant bodyguards, Pristomyrmex punctatus, with an offering of sugar droplets.


The relationships was thought to be a fair exchange of services in which both parties benefit. But Masaru Hojo from Kobe University in Japan noticed something peculiar: the caterpillars were always attended by the same ant individuals.


“It also seemed that the ants never moved away or returned to their nests,” he says. They seemed to abandon searching for food, and were just standing around guarding the caterpillar.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Zachary Albrecht's curator insight, July 31, 11:33 PM

Creepy, check this out!