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Not bad science


New discoveries in animal behavior and cognition
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The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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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 thought I’d take a somewhat self-indulgent moment to highlight some of my favourite animal behaviour discoveries I’ve had the pleasure of writing about.

Moray eel with tiny blue cleaner fish

1. Cleaner Fish behaviour being affected  by who’s watching them. These are remarkably weird, but interesting animals. Not only do they meticulously groom ‘client’ fish that could eat them at any moment, they also change the way they behave towards that client if there’s another potential client watching.

 

2. The finding that birds will actually sing differently when they live in cities with lots of noise pollution.

3. A study looking into whether crows might recognise themselves in the mirror.

4. A study that used genetics to show that butterflies could taste through their feet.

5. Crickets dancing differently with an audience. I mean, who wouldn’t like dancing crickets?

6. Working out how ants might work together to move large objects, with a great video assessing how strong an ant is.

7. The finding that lost ants backtrack their steps.

8. The amazing duets of happy wrens.

9. How ants might be biasing their decisions in a similar way to us.

 

 

Photo Credits

Moray eel with cleaner fish: Thomas Quine

Junco: mdf

Ant: Antoine Wystrach and Sebastian Schwarz

Felicity Muth About the Author: Felicity Muth is an early-career researcher with a PhD in animal cognition. Follow on Twitter @notbadscience.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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