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African starlings: Dashing darlings of the bird world in more ways than one

It's not going to happen while you're peering through your binoculars, but African glossy starlings change color more than 10 times faster than their ancestors and even their modern relatives, according to researchers at The University of Akron...
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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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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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Dolphins "Shout" to Be Heard over Boat Noise

Dolphins "Shout" to Be Heard over Boat Noise | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
And they expend energy to do so
-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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Home | Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation

Home | Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Our Mission
BLACK JAGUAR-WHITE TIGER FOUNDATION
To rescue Big Cats from sad circumstances and provide them with the best lifestyle available. A life governed by Love and respect.
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Too much stress sends some dogs into a tailspin

Too much stress sends some dogs into a tailspin | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
People tend to perform better when they are a little bit anxious and they sense a lot is at stake - whether that be at a job interview or a big speech.

Well, it turns out dogs do, too.

But much like people, a new study in the journal Animal Cognition found too much stress can send dogs into a tizzy. Researchers at Duke found that a little extra stress and stimulation makes hyper dogs crack under pressure but gives mellow dogs an edge.

"When you're taking a test, for example, it helps to be a little bit anxious so you don't just blow it off," said study co-author Emily Bray, who was an undergraduate at Duke at the time of the study. "But if you're too nervous, even if you study and you really know the material, you aren't going to perform at your best."

Researchers first observed this pattern known in psychology as Yerkes-Dodson law more than a hundred years ago in lab rats. It has since been demonstrated in chickens, cats and humans.

In the new study, Bray and evolutionary anthropologists Evan MacLean and Brian Hare of Duke's Canine Cognition Center wanted to find out if the conditions that enable certain animals to do their best are dependent on the animal's underlying temperament.

In a series of experiments, the researchers challenged dogs to retrieve a meat jerky treat from a person standing behind a clear plastic barrier. To get it right, the dogs couldn't take the shortest path to reach the treat - which would only cause them to bump into the barrier and hit their heads. Instead, they had walk around the barrier to one of the open sides.
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Emapthy: Nova science now What are animals thinking

Nova science now What are animals thinking
 

Empathy - Bonobos Sharing 
was she feeling empathy. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOgGOtKspV0 &t=0m0s

was she feeling empathy. 


Empathy and Rats


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOgGOtKspV0 &t=11m020s


Theory of mind with monkeys

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOgGOtKspV0 &t=44m40s


Via Edwin Rutsch
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A zoo in N.J. was just named among the best in the world | NJ.com - NJ.com

A zoo in N.J. was just named among the best in the world | NJ.com - NJ.com | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
One of the best zoos in the world is just a short drive away. It's not in the Bronx or Philadelphia, though.
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Biologists succeed in teaching wild birds to understand a new language

Biologists succeed in teaching wild birds to understand a new language | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Biologists have succeeded in teaching wild birds to understand a new language.
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Do dolphins and bats use sound the same way?

Do dolphins and bats use sound the same way? | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Most mammals primarily process sound in a single area of their brain, but a new study shows that dolphins use at least two.
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What Siberian Burials Reveal about the Relationship between Humans and Dogs

What Siberian Burials Reveal about the Relationship between Humans and Dogs | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The Kitoi hunter–gatherers gave their dogs elaborate mortuary rituals
-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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First images of dolphin brain circuitry hint at how they sense sound

First images of dolphin brain circuitry hint at how they sense sound | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Neuroscientists have for the first time mapped the sensory and motor systems in the brains of dolphins.
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Why Dog Therapy Is Taking Off As Exam Stress Relievers On Campuses

Why Dog Therapy Is Taking Off As Exam Stress Relievers On Campuses | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
College students deal with stress on a regular basis, especially around exam time. But a relatively new anxiety-relief therapy is sweeping across our nation's campuses, along with hundreds of furry critters.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 11 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the past year, and more than 10 percent reported being diagnosed or treated for depression.
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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!

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Lizard's Water-Funnelling Skin Copied in the Lab

Lizard's Water-Funnelling Skin Copied in the Lab | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

"Scientists have unpicked how the skin of the Texas horned lizard funnels water towards its mouth - and copied the principles in a plastic version. This reptile can collect water from anywhere, including the sand it walks on; the fluid then travels to its mouth through channels between its scales. A German-Austrian team quantified the skin's key features, notably the way its grooves narrow towards the snout. The bio-inspired plastic copy could have some engineering applications. Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the researchers suggest that the "passive, directional liquid transport" they have described might find a home in distilleries, heat exchangers, or small medical devices where condensation is a problem."


Via Miguel Prazeres
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Fiddler crabs' claw power linked to lunar cycle

Fiddler crabs' claw power linked to lunar cycle | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Courting male sand fiddler crabs’ snapping claw power peaks around new and full moons

Via Perendale Publishers (Tuti Tan)
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Dogs, like humans, perform better under right amount of stress

Dogs, like humans, perform better under right amount of stress | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Just like in humans, stress can give mellow dogs an edge, but it can make hyper dogs crack, a new study suggests.
The study conducted by researchers at Duke University has found that a little extra stress gives calm dogs an edge over hyper dogs.
"When you're taking a test, for example, it helps to be a little bit anxious so you don't just blow it off," said co-author Emily Bray, who was an undergraduate at Duke at the time of the study.
"But if you're too nervous, even if you study and you really know the material, you aren't going to perform at your best," Bray said.
Researchers first observed this pattern more than a hundred years ago in lab rats, but it has since been demonstrated in chickens, cats and humans.
In the study, a team consisting of Bray and evolutionary anthropologists Evan MacLean and Brian Hare of Duke's Canine Cognition Centre wanted to find out if the conditions that enable certain animals to do their best also depend on the animal's underlying temperament.
In a series of experiments, the researchers challenged dogs to retrieve a meat jerky treat from a person standing behind a clear plastic barrier that was six feet wide and three feet tall.
The dogs had to resist the impulse to try to take the shortest path to reach the treat - which would only cause them to bump their heads against the plastic - and instead walk around the barrier to one of the open sides.
In one set of trials, an experimenter stood behind the barrier holding a treat and called the dog's name in a calm, flat voice.
In another set of trials, the experimenter enthusiastically waved the treat in the air and used an urgent, excited voice.
 The researchers tested 30 pet dogs, ranging in age from an eight-month-old Jack Russell terrier to an 11-year-old Vizsla. They also tested 76 assistance dogs at Canine Companions for Independence in California.
"The service dogs were generally more cool in the face of stress or distraction, whereas the pet dogs tended to be more excitable and high-strung," Bray said.
For the dogs that were naturally calm and laid-back - measured by how quickly they tended to wag their tails - increasing the level of excitement and urgency boosted their ability to stay on task and get the treat.
But for excitable dogs the pattern was reversed. Increasing the level of stimulation only made them take longer.
The results will help researchers develop better tests to determine which dogs are likely to graduate from service dog training programs, for example.
The study was published in the journal Animal Cognition. — PTI
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A Photo of Two Dogs Hugging Saved Them from Being Euthenized

A Photo of Two Dogs Hugging Saved Them from Being Euthenized | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Kala and Keira were sentenced to be put down if no one adopted them by close of business at a pet shelter on Monday.
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NOVA scienceNOW: What are animals thinking: Animal Morality: Can rats feel empathy?

NOVA scienceNOW: What are animals thinking: Animal Morality: Can rats feel empathy? | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Do dogs feel guilty?


Can rats feel empathy?


We project very complex—and very human—moral and emotional lives onto our animal companions. Now, scientists studying animal cognition are finally revealing the machinery of animals' moral compasses.


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Scientists Do a Simple Camera Hack And Reveal "Black" Leopards' Spots

Scientists Do a Simple Camera Hack And Reveal "Black" Leopards' Spots | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
In Africa and Asia, leopards and black panthers are the same animal. Black panthers’ spots blend in with the rest of their coat.
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Researchers show that the mosquito smells, before it sees, a host

Researchers show that the mosquito smells, before it sees, a host | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The itchy marks left by the punctured bite of a mosquito are more than pesky, unwelcomed mementos of a day at the lake.
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Discovery of young family gives hope to world's rarest ape

Discovery of young family gives hope to world's rarest ape | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
The world's rarest ape has an increased chance of survival after a team led by international conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) found a new family group of Hainan gibbons (Nomascus hainanus).
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Under-active pandas save energy, much like sloths

Under-active pandas save energy, much like sloths | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it
Giant pandas are the new couch potatoes of the animal world, according to a study Thursday that found the bears are just as sluggish as slow-moving sloths.
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Stanford high-speed video reveals how parrots keep a clear line of sight during acrobatic flight

Stanford high-speed video reveals how parrots keep a clear line of sight during acrobatic flight | animals and prosocial capacities | Scoop.it

Engineers looking for inspiration for better drone camera design might want to set their gaze toward lovebirds. Lovebirds are famous for their ability to quickly maneuver through densely cluttered airspace, and Stanford engineers now show that this is likely made possible by the birds' ability to turn their heads at a speed that is tops in the animal world.


"During rapid flight through densely cluttered forests every split second counts. Having more time to see and react to your environment gives you an edge in making the right decision," said David Lentink, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford. "Clearly, there are evolutionary benefits for behaviors that help avoid crashing in complex environments."


Lentink and his colleagues used stereo high-speed cameras to film the birds as they took off and performed a rapid turning maneuver before landing on the initial perch. Analysis of the stereo videos showed that the birds could turn their heads at speeds reaching 2,700 degrees per second, as fast as insects, and orient to a new target with incredible accuracy.


"They are almost four times faster than humans at solving a similar visual task," said Daniel Kress, a postdoctoral fellow in Lentink's lab and first author on the research paper. "Basically, if lovebirds could spin their head a full 360 degrees, they could do it so fast that it would go unnoted by a blinking human."


The work could inform the design of drone vision systems in a couple of ways. The researchers noticed that the birds only began turning their heads during the end of the wing downstroke, maximizing the length of time that their line of sight would be unobscured. The research suggests that rotating the camera gimbal on a drone faster during a turn could improve visual quality.


"If drone gimbals would be as fast as the neck of a lovebird, making a saccade of 60 degrees in about 40 milliseconds, they would be able to reorient the camera in a single frame, since typical drone cameras operate at about 30 frames per second," Lentink said. "With only one frame blurred, the videos would essentially be free from blur due to camera movement, even during dramatic maneuvers."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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