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Posts Tagged "behaviour"

Not bad science

An Optical Illusion As Seen By a Fish

The Ebbinghaus Illusion

Visual illusions are fun: we know with our rational mind that, for example, these lines are parallel to each other, yet they don’t appear that way. Similarly, I could swear that squares A and B are different colours. But they are not. This becomes clearer when a connecting block is drawn between the two squares [...]

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Not bad science

Can Pigs Empathize?

Pigs are social animals with complex emotions - but do they empathize?

There are a handful of traits that scientists and philosophers would argue would make us human, including self-awareness and language. Another key part of being human is thought to be our ability to empathize (although I sometimes find myself doubting some humans’ abilities to empathize). I also doubt that we are the only animal that [...]

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Not bad science

Why Do Rock Sparrows Decorate Their Nests?

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When you read the word ‘communication’, you probably think of language in some form, likely spoken or written. This is because, as humans, we’re obsessed with communicating through language; it’s likely that an hour doesn’t go by in your day when you don’t communicate with someone by phone, email or text. While animals are generally [...]

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Not bad science

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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Not bad science

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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Not bad science

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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Not bad science

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

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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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Not bad science

Why are these mice shaking their booties?

SONY DSC

Pacifica Sommers is a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona. Here she tells us about this unusual mouse behaviour she witnessed when doing research.   What are these mice doing? As I looked through my video data for my doctoral research, I couldn’t help noticing they were, well, shaking their booties. Check it out [...]

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Not bad science

How is Past Experience Biasing Our Decision-Making? Insights from Rock Ants

The rock ant Temnothorax rugatulus

Think about all the decisions you’ve made today. Even if you’re reading this in the morning, you’ve probably already made hundreds or even thousands of decisions, without even thinking consciously about most of them. We like to think of ourselves as being in control of our own decisions, and making rational, well-informed choices. However, more [...]

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Not bad science

Wrens so happy that they duet, but how do they do it?

not so happy happy wren

One of my favourite animals that I only discovered existed recently has to be the happy wren. Not only is it happy (just look at this photo), but it also duets with its partner in such a synchronised way that they are often mistaken for a single bird. Have a listen to this recording of [...]

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Running Ponies

Dogs recognise other dogs in a crowd

Dogs

They may have the largest physical variety among all animal species on Earth, but dogs can still recognise one of their own over any other animal based on simple images of their faces. Since their domestication somewhere between 15,000 and 100,000 years ago, dogs have been learning to use facial cues as an important part [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

It’s hot and sunny, so birds lie down and sunbathe

Greater necklacked laughingthrush sunbathing, another photo taken at Birdworld. Photo by Darren Naish.

It’s hot and sunny here in the UK right now, and elsewhere in the world too, I’m sure. In celebration of the current conditions, I figure now is a good time to recycle a Tet Zoo ver 3 article that’s already two years old: my brief review of sunbathing postures in dinosaurs. By which I [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Herring gull eats sea star, and other tales of larid gastronomy

My photography skills – if I can call them that – are pretty atrocious. While on a break in Wales recently, I managed to photograph a sequence in which a Herring gull Larus argentatus (one of our most frequently encountered gulls) swallowed a Common sea star Asterias rubens. Yeah, that’s right, get into the habit [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Crocodiles attack elephants

Way back in November 2010 a remarkable photo appeared online, showing an adult Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus biting the trunk of an adult female African bush elephant Loxodonta africana (a plague upon those bloggers and others who identified the crocodylian as an… alligator. Duh). You’ve almost certainly seen the photo already: it was widely features [...]

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