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Posts Tagged "domestication"

Anthropology in Practice

The Animal Connection: Why Do We Keep Pets?

Pets are popular family members. / iStock image.

Ed. Note: Another favorite this Friday about those furry members of our family—no, not your Grandpa Ed, but your pet. This post was selected as an Editor’s Selection on ResearchBlogging.org. It has been slightly modified from it’s original posting. I’ll never forget the day S brought home a live chicken. When we lived in Queens, [...]

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Guest Blog

Bambi or Bessie: Are wild animals happier?

We, as emotional beings, place a high value on happiness and joy. Happiness is more than a feeling to us – it’s something we require and strive for. We’re so fixated on happiness that we define the pursuit of it as a right. We seek happiness not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but [...]

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Observations

Adaptation to Starchy Diet Was Key to Dog Domestication

Dog

They work with us, play with us and comfort us when we’re down. Archaeological evidence indicates that dogs have had a close bond with humans for millennia. But exactly why and how they evolved from their wolf ancestors into our loyal companions has been something of a mystery. Now a new genetic analysis indicates that [...]

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Observations

How to Feed the World While Earth Cooks

harvest

A conference on feeding the world must also feed itself. Having attended more than my share of such conferences, I can say that the norm is keynotes that rally the troops in favor of organics while said troops munch on tortilla or potato chips. Or there is the earnest vegan route. (This is not a [...]

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Observations

Humans feasting on grains for at least 100,000 years

grain stone age cereal humans

Grains might have been an important part of human diets much further back in our history than previous research has suggested. Although cupcakes and crumpets were still a long way off during the Middle Stone Age, new evidence suggests that at least some humans of that time period were eating starchy, cereal-based snacks as early [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Cows Learn Better With Friends

dairy calf

My schoolteachers took effort to separate close friends when arranging their classroom seating charts. The idea was that we’d pay more attention to our lessons if we were distracted by our buddies. Dairy cattle also tend to be separated from each other, but that may actually put them at a disadvantage. Calves are separated from [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Przewalski’s Horses

The baby P-horse, born July 27, 2013. Photo via Smithsonian National Zoo.

They’re the only species of horse never to be domesticated, and have a fascinating history.

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The Thoughtful Animal

Wolves Can Learn From Humans. What Does That Mean For Dogs?

Fotocredit_WolfScienceCenter

Where did dogs come from? The question is harder to answer than it seems. The problem with much of the research on domestication is that the focus has been on how dogs and wolves interact with humans. Perhaps that’s understandable, since domestication is in part defined by a species’ incorporation into human culture. But to [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Does Your Dog Love You Back?

argo-horiz

You love your dog. Does your dog love you back? Is the love that an owner feels for her dog reciprocated? That’s the question that a group of Swedish and Danish researchers wanted to answer.

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The Thoughtful Animal

Man’s Best Friend or Oversized Rat?

argo bone

Here’s something curious. The phrase “man’s best friend” didn’t appear in print, according to Google’s n-grams, until after the year 1750. Here’s something else that’s curious: the owning of dogs as pets by anybody more than the “one percent” – the richest of the rich – is also a relatively new phenomenon, something unique to [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Searching for the Social in Contagious Yawning

baby yawning

Evidence has been accumulating for several years that contagious yawning is driven by social cognition. But how? And is it related to empathy? A new study with chimpanzees sheds some light.

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The Thoughtful Animal

If You Need To Test Your New Robot, Ask A Dog

dog robot

The 1962 cartoon series The Jetsons featured a futuristic nuclear family: father George, mother Jane, and their offspring, Elroy and Judy. In the very first episode, we learn about the Jetson family’s purchase of a housecleaning robot named Rosey. Rosey is, according to paleofuturist Matt Novak, “perhaps the most iconic futuristic character to ever grace [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

For Word Learning, Size Matters If You’re A Dog

Gable and Toys

In 1988, a three-year-old child is led into a brightly colored testing room in a psychology department in Bloomington, Indiana. A small toy is brought out and put onto a table in front of the child. The toy was wooden, blue, about two inches square, and U-shaped. “This is a dax.” The researchers picked a [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Ferrets: Man’s Other Best Friend

ferret-partial

If a human points his or her finger at something, a dog might infer that there’s hidden food, while the chimpanzee remains more or less clueless about the meaning behind that sort of non-verbal communication. As dogs have evolved in a social space occupied by human social partners, they’ve gained the unique ability not only [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Do Dogs Feel Guilty?

argo-horiz

“I walked into the house, and he was acting strange. I could tell he had done something wrong,” she told me. I pressed for further details. “His head was down, and he wasn’t making eye contact,” she explained. “Then, I found it. Under the bed.” She had spent weeks training her dog, Henry, not to [...]

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Thoughtomics

Livestock bacteria are as old as the livestock they kill

The aurochs were the ancestors of domestic cattle.

Animals were wilder then. Horns were longer, temperaments fiercer. These wild things had forever been free when humans took control of their flocks and herds, 10.000 years ago. Through careful breeding and rearing, the first pastoralists of the Near East moulded the beasts into more docile versions of their former selves. Over time, Bezoar became [...]

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