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Your Dog Forgot the Hug You Just Gave Him

Study finds animals have short short-term memory spans

(Newser) - When it comes to short-term memory, animals have very short ones indeed. A new meta-analysis examined more than 90 memory experiments carried out on 25 species encompassing birds, mammals, and bees. Researchers at Stockholm University and Brooklyn College found that for dogs, events are forgotten after about two minutes—and... More »

Stopping Tests on Chimps Hurts ... Chimps

NIH move is bad for animals in the long run: research center chief

(Newser) - The NIH is drastically reducing its research on chimps, a move that animal rights advocates hail as humane and long overdue. They've got it exactly backward, writes the director of a research center affected by the move. What they fail to consider is that chimp research doesn't just... More »

HIV's Origins Stretch Back Millions of Years

Earlier work suggested HIV 'cousins' were much more recent

(Newser) - "Cousins" of the HIV virus are millions of years old—not tens of thousands, as previous research has suggested, according to a new study. Researchers in Seattle examined HIV-like viruses in a range of primates. Genetic changes in monkey and ape immune systems point to the development of such... More »

Another Midlife-Crisis Victim: Apes

Slump in happiness mirrors that in humans

(Newser) - While you won't find them buying sports cars or having affairs with their biographers, apes are just as susceptible to midlife crises as their human counterparts, a new study claims. Researchers questioned the keepers of hundreds of captive orangutans and chimpanzees and found that just like with humans, the... More »

Medical Chimp-Testing May Be Over

Congress reviewing bill to ban all ape testing

(Newser) - Chimpanzees: valuable test subjects, or caged relatives who deserve better treatment? With a ban on all ape-testing now in Congress, the controversial practice dating back to the 1920s may soon be over, the New York Times reports. “Now is the time to get these chimps out of invasive research... More »

Apeman Fossil Could Be Missing Link

Swinging between species

(Newser) - Have scientists finally found the "missing link" connecting human-like apes to the first human? A South African researcher is convinced he may have tracked down the creature after an exhaustive examination of the partial skeletons of a young female adult and a male child of a hominin that lived... More »

Scientists Debate Ending Chimp Research

Ethics, declining usefulness cited for the change

(Newser) - After years of using chimpanzees for scientific research—shooting them into space, testing hepatitis vaccines on them, using them for HIV studies—man's closest relative could be nearing retirement, reports the Washington Post . The European Union banned using chimps for scientific research last year, and now the Institute of... More »

Team Deciphers Orangutan Sign Language

Gestures analyzed to compile 'orangutan dictionary'

(Newser) - A bite of the air, blowing a raspberry, or a backroll means "playtime" in orangutan, say researchers who have completed the most extensive study yet of great ape gestures. The team deciphered the meanings of 40 common orangutan gestures that the animals—the least vocal of the great apes—... More »

Russian Chimp Goes to Rehab

Zhora got addicted to cigarettes, beer

(Newser) - Don’t feel bad, Amy Winehouse: Even apes have to go to rehab sometimes. At least one Russian chimpanzee did, if a Reuters report is to be believed. According to a Russian newspaper, Zhora got aggressive at his first home—a circus—before being sent to a zoo, where he... More »

Half of All Primates Endangered

Deforestation, hunting threaten man's closest kin

(Newser) - Nearly half of all primate species on the planet are in danger of extinction, warns a shocking report by a world conservation organization. Destruction of tropical forests, illegal wildlife trade and commercial bush meat hunting are the key threats to man's closest relatives, according to the International Union for Conservation... More »

Scientists: Dolphins Are 'Non-Human Persons'

New research shows them to be smarter than chimps

(Newser) - Dolphins are not only the world's smartest animal after humans, they're so intelligent they deserve to be classed as "non-human persons." So say scientists who argue their research on dolphins' brains shows it is unethical to keep such animals captive in amusement parks or to kill them for... More »

Google Issues Disclaimer Over Racist Michelle Image

But company won't pull doctored photo

(Newser) - Hackers have doctored a photo of Michelle Obama to look like an ape and rigged Google search results so it comes up first under an image search of her name. The move prompted Google to take out an ad on the results page, reading in part, “Sometimes our search... More »

Chimps Can Get AIDS: Study

SIV-infected chimps have high death rate, low T-cell counts

(Newser) - Scientists have found evidence that chimpanzees can be sickened by SIV, the non-human version of HIV, adding to the understanding of how HIV/AIDS developed, the AP reports. Scientists have long believed that while other primates can contract simian immunodeficiency virus, they are not affected by it. A 9-year study of... More »

Apes, Humans Share a Laugh

Commonalities show laughter is pre-human

(Newser) - After tickling two dozen apes and several children, scientists have concluded that laughter developed long before humans did. In fact, a common ancestor of both apes and humans probably emitted the first chuckle at least 10 million years ago. The study measuring 800 vocalizations found that all subjects shared the... More »

Gorillas: Maybe Not as Gentle as We Thought

Ape vegetarian in the wild, but can turn carnivore in captivity

(Newser) - King Kong aside, gorillas have somehow been able to hold onto their reputations as gentle giants, while myths about the belligerent chimpanzee and the promiscuous bonobo have long since been dispelled. But with new research into ape behavior, the last fable may fall, the Economist reports after primatologists studied apes... More »

Whistling Orangutan Surprises Scientists

Her talent may help explain how human speech evolved

(Newser) - An orangutan at Washington's National Zoo has pleased her caretakers with a unique skill—she's taken up whistling. Researchers have previously taught apes to do so, but Bonnie is different in that she started on her own, apparently by mimicking zookeepers, NPR reports. (She also imitates workers sweeping floors and... More »

Orangutans In Trouble as Forests Shrink

Loggers, plantations bring great ape close to extinction

(Newser) - Illegal loggers and palm oil plantations may make the orangutan the first great ape to become extinct, scientists warn. In Indonesia, a mere 6,600 of the apes remain, while on Malaysia’s Borneo Island, the population has fallen 10% to 49,600, the Telegraph reports. More »

Spain Passes Ape Rights Bill

Seriously, parliament moves to protect 'non-human hominids'

(Newser) - Spanish Parliament passed a resolution promising fundamental “human” rights to the great apes, the Guardian reports. The bill enjoys wide support and would ban scientific experimentation involving higher-level primates. Zoo exhibition will still be legal, but supporters say living conditions will improve significantly. The legislative body was inspired by... More »

Gibraltar to Kill Pesky Apes

Famous wild monkeys terrorize tourists

(Newser) - Gibraltar has decided to kill a band of its famous Barbary apes that has been harassing tourists and residents, AP reports. The 25-strong group of renegade apes—actually large monkeys—has moved to a popular beach area where the animals have been stealing food and climbing into open windows. The... More »

Laughter Also Good Medicine for Orangutans

Study finds empathy, mimicry in primates' grins and chuckles

(Newser) - Humans aren't the only animals who laugh, according to a new study. Orangutans engage in a primitive form of laughing, the BBC reports—when one exhibits a facial expression such as an open, gaping mouth, and a companion displays the same expression less than half a second later. This sense... More »

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