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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.
  • Mice Will Approach Another Mouse in Pain, But Only When He’s Top Mouse


    Mice, like us, are social animals. As social animals they like to hang out with each other. Also like us, they don’t just hang out with anyone. Who a mouse chooses to hang out with will depend on number of factors, such as how old the other mouse is, what it’s social status is and [...]

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    Why Does This Lizard Have Such Fabulous Colours?

    Male common wall lizards, Podarcis muralis

    Despite having the underwhelming name the ‘common wall lizard’, this lizard sports some amazing colours on its underside. Although its back is a boring brown colour, presumably to be less visible to predators, the males have some fabulous colours on their bellies, as well as UV-blue patches down their sides (sadly not visible to us). [...]

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    Scientists Get Primates to Play Cards

    All three primates chose the safer option

    A few months ago I moved to Reno, Nevada. Although I haven’t been to a casino yet myself, living in a so-called ‘casino town’ makes you acutely aware of the effects of gambling on people. But why do people gamble to begin with? Surely if we know that the odds are stacked against us, we [...]

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    Spiders are Disturbed by Human Noise

    Sometimes life just gets too noisy

    Regardless what you might think of spiders, once you find out a bit about their behaviour it’s hard to deny that they are at the very least, interesting animals. I’ve previously written about how male spiders select females to mate with that are the least likely to eat them, how spiders can sniff out human [...]

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    Best of Not Bad Science


    I recently realised that I had published 50 blog posts here at Scientific American Mind. When I first became interested in science writing as a PhD student a few years ago, I had no idea that I would end up having the privilege of writing for an online science magazine of such high calibre. I [...]

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    Disproving Hollywood Stereotypes: The Bare Bones of Piranha Behaviour

    This just doesn't happen in real life

    Article by Amy Deacon   “People eat fish, Grogan. Fish don’t eat people” reassures the camp leader in the film ‘Piranha’, shortly before a shoal of incredibly voracious fish turn the waters alongside the camp site red, in a savage attack on innocent bathers. In this fictional Hollywood tale, the fish were escaped stock left [...]

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    Human Noise Disturbs Different Fish in Different Ways

    The three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus

    It is well known that animals are affected by human noise pollution. For example, dark-eyed junco birds that live in cities sing both louder and with a different song than their countryside counterparts. However, human noise pollution is not contained to cities, and even our oceans are filled with the noise from ships, motorboats and [...]

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    Black Widows Have More Control Over Their Attacks Than You Think

    The western widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus

    Imagine that you’re being attacked by a lion. Or if you happen to be a lion-wrestler, imagine that it’s a shark. How hard are you going to fight back? Probably with everything you’ve got. This is about as dangerous as a situation as you can be in, and you’re going to kick, punch, bite and [...]

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    Can Chimpanzees Teach us Anything About Differences Between Boys and Girls?


    Whether there exist differences between boys and girls is passionately debated (for example, see this debate about gender disparity between Stephen Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke). Some studies have found that girls are more sociable than boys, but prefer to play with just one other person, while boys prefer a larger group to play with. However, [...]

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    A Glimpse Into the Sexual Lives of Chimpanzees

    No prizes for guessing what this chimpanzee might be trying to communicate

    Brittany Fallon is a PhD candidate at the Université de Neuchâtel  who works on the Sonso chimpanzee community of the Budongo Forest Reserve in Uganda. Here she shares some of her insights into their sexual displays.   In today’s focal party, the main characters are Nambi, the Alpha female who engages in regular sexual relations [...]

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