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Not bad science

New discoveries in animal behavior and cognition
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    Felicity Muth Felicity Muth is an early-career researcher with a PhD in animal cognition. Follow on Twitter @notbadscience.
  • Male Praying Mantids Have a Strategy For Not Being Eaten by Their Mates


    We usually think about male and female mates getting along pretty well (that’s ‘mate’ in the biological sense, not your friendly British/ Australian friend). Often after mating, male and females have to work together to ensure that the female gets the nutrition she needs while incubating eggs or rearing offspring. Even after this, many animals [...]

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    Nevada Celebrates Pollinator Week


    The title of this article probably is an overstatement. Perhaps instead it should have been ‘a small subset of people in Reno, and possibly in Vegas (because everything you can think of exists there) celebrated pollinators for a week. And what week was this, I hear you say? Well, in case you missed it, National [...]

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    Psychic Animals and Football-Playing Bees


    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 the outcome of matches, such as Paul the octopus, Leon the porcupine and Anton the tamarin. However, while these animals may have made predictions useful to people placing bets [...]

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    Chimpanzees React To A Robo-Doll

    Once the chimps calmed down they actually quite liked the robodoll, offering it toys to play with

    A large portion of what animals do is interact with each other. As a social species, we can hardly go an hour without some kind of interaction with another human, be it face-to-face or via text or email. Even animals that aren’t particularly social still generally have to interact with each other once in a [...]

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    Unique Science Communication: Isabella Rossellini


    I recently wrote an article about science communication, and in it mentioned that people can communicate science in many different ways using many different types of media. One more unusual way is what Isabella Rossellini has adopted. Using real animal behaviour science, she conveys it by dressing up as the animal in question, and presenting [...]

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    Bumblebees Are More Flexible Than We Knew

    A bee drinking the sucrose reward on the yellow 'flower'

    I recently wrote about how bumblebees were able to perform some seemingly impressive feats, although the underlying reason they could do so was relatively simple. However, recent work by Caroline Strang and David Sherry has demonstrated that bumblebees are capable of another behavioural feat, never before shown in this species. In this post, researcher Caroline [...]

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    Left-Eyed Fish Are Faster Learners

    The rainbowfish, Melanotaenia duboulayi

    You may have heard the claim that left-handed people are smarter than right handed people. Specifically, it seems that left-handed people are over represented in musicians, architects and art and music students. Why this might be isn’t entirely clear, but it is possible that it has something to do with the left-handed brain being larger [...]

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    Robins Pay Attention To Which Way You’re Looking When Stealing From You

    The Wild North Island robin

    In a week where gaze-following seems to be the hot topic, there being studies in both primates and dogs, another study took a rather different approach to looking at gaze-following. Wild North Island robins are unusual in that they live on an isolated island and as a result are unafraid of humans and other mammals. [...]

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    Dogs Follow the Gaze of Humans, Especially When There’s Food Involved


    I recently wrote about how humans and other primates follow the gaze of others. This week I read about two more interesting findings relating to gaze-following, the first in dogs, the second in robins. The first study used forty family-owned dogs. The researchers wanted half of these dogs to think that there was food hidden [...]

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    How To Get Into Science Communication Online


    I recently taught a class on science journalism and science communication. Although there have been a few articles on this topic already (in particular I’d recommend reading Ed Yong’s and Carl Zimmer’s) I thought I’d share a bit of advice from my own experience. I became involved in science writing just a few years ago, [...]

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