animal behavior

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Chimp Has Been Carrying Dead Infant for 3 Months

Possible mourning ritual observed at Spain's Bioparc Valencia

(Newser) - A chimpanzee born at a zoo in Valencia, Spain, survived only two weeks before dying in February. Three months later, the infant's decomposing body remains in its enclosure at Bioparc Valencia with no current plan to remove it, despite the alarm caused to visitors. That's because the infant'...

Ability to Joke Isn't Exclusive to Humans
Humans Aren't the Only
Jokers on the Planet
NEW STUDY

Humans Aren't the Only Jokers on the Planet

Teasing apes suggest 'cognitive prerequisites for joking' evolved at least 13M years ago

(Newser) - You would think poking or slapping a great ape would be ill-advised. But the young chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans who tease their adult counterparts are rarely met with aggression. That's because, according to a new study, even great apes know when a joke is a joke. Researchers analyzed...

Faced With Unwanted Mating, Female Frogs Fake Death
Faced With Unwanted Mating,
Female Frogs Fake Death
NEW STUDY

Faced With Unwanted Mating, Female Frogs Fake Death

'Surprising' behavior thought to help females escape from potentially deadly 'mating balls'

(Newser) - European common frogs often mate in what's called a "mating ball." In an attempt to reproduce, males seek out and cling to outnumbered females, even those already singled out by other males, in a potentially deadly struggle. As Science reports, females risk injury or drowning if unable...

Endangered Orcas May Have Learned to Target Boats

Is it for fun? Or is it 'based on trauma'?

(Newser) - Scientists say a small group of killer whales could be putting humans and themselves in danger by repeatedly ramming, and occasionally sinking, sailboats. Orcas interacting with boats is nothing new. But scientists say there is something different about the behavior of this group of about 15 orcas off the coast...

One Way Animals Keep Cool: Splooting
One Way Animals
Keep Cool: Splooting

One Way Animals Keep Cool: Splooting

Twitter learns the DoggoLingo term for heat dumping

(Newser) - Dogs sploot . Cats sploot . Bears sploot . Squirrels sploot . And on a hot day, you might just catch one in the act, as New Yorkers learned this week. "If you see a squirrel lying down like this, don't worry; it's just fine," NYC Parks tweeted Tuesday alongside...

Scientists Observe a Grisly First Among Orcas
Never-Before-Seen
Behavior in Orcas
Surprises Scientists


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Never-Before-Seen Behavior in Orcas Surprises Scientists

Researchers see the first known case of infanticide among killer whales

(Newser) - Scientists have observed a behavior never before seen in killer whales, and it makes for a grim discovery. Following strange calls from orcas off the northeastern coast of British Columbia's Vancouver Island in December, researchers observed the first known case of infanticide among the whales. After tracking down the...

Scientists Document Monkeys Trying to Have Sex With Deer

Behavior was documented in Minoo, Japan

(Newser) - It was a "single anecdotal event" that surprised scientists and the internet: A male snow monkey was documented trying to have sexual relations with a sika deer in Japan. It turns out it wasn't so singular. A study published Dec. 11 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior establishes...

After the Battle, Army Ants Leave No Soldier Behind

Many ants injured in battle are saved by being carried back to the colony

(Newser) - A new study provides the first evidence that ants rescue members of their own colony post-battle even when those ants aren't in imminent danger, reports the Guardian . The observation came about when biologist Erik Frank was watching army ants march out to battle termites in highly patterned formation—"...

Dogs May Like Praise as Much as Their Treats
Dogs May Like Praise
as Much as Their Treats
STUDY SAYS

Dogs May Like Praise as Much as Their Treats

A small study finds that a pat on the head can go a long way

(Newser) - Scientists who've trained the first group of dogs to sit still in MRI machines so that their brain activity can be measured say they've made a striking discovery: Dogs may like to get attention as much as if not more than they like to get treats. Reporting in...

Chimps Are Inexplicably Hurling Rocks at Trees

There are theories, of course—including that it might be part of a 'sacred' ritual

(Newser) - Chimpanzees in West Africa are throwing rocks at trees, and why they're doing it remains a mystery, Discovery reports. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology say this chimp behavior has never before been documented and that it may shed some light on the species' cultural customs—...

Octopus Love Involves Strangulation, Cannibalism

Scientists observe one killing, eating her partner

(Newser) - Some guys fall asleep after a little love-making. But if you’re a male octopus, that nap can be more like eternal rest. Two scientists have detailed how carnal relations between a lady octopus and her lover can prove fatal for the male, especially if he’s not that well-endowed,...

World's Fastest Animal Is Very, Very Small

When speed is measured in body lengths per second, that is

(Newser) - Watch your back, Usain Bolt: A California physics major has found that a tiny mite is (sort of) the fastest land animal on Earth, keeping a pace equivalent to that of a human running 1,300 miles per hour, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Why "sort of"? As...

Experts: Dogs Feel No Shame
 Experts: Dogs Feel No Shame 

Experts: Dogs Feel No Shame

'Guilty dog look' is reaction to anger

(Newser) - Every dog owner knows the "guilty dog" look that has made sites like Dogshaming.com a hit, but animal behavior experts say the pooches don't really feel ashamed at all, the AP finds. Researchers have found that the droopy-eyed, cowering look dogs give angry owners is a reaction...

Your Dog Can Catch Yawns— From You

Study: Man's best friend is more likely to yawn after an owner than a stranger

(Newser) - If you're showing signs of sleepiness, your pooch might do the same. It's already been suggested that yawning is contagious between dogs and humans, but researchers in Japan have taken things further: They've found that your dog is more likely to "catch" your yawn than a...

Apes Suffer Midlife Misery, Too
 Another 
 Midlife-Crisis 
 Victim: Apes 
STUDY SAYS

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...

Democrats and Republicans Behave Like Schools of Fish
 Political Parties Act 
 Like Schools of Fish 
study says

Political Parties Act Like Schools of Fish

Vocal minorities can temporarily sway the masses

(Newser) - Wondering about the future of the Tea Party, or what affect the Occupy Movement might have on Democrats? Try asking a bunch of fish. Scientists have found that in a school of fish, a "vocal minority"—that is, a group determined to swim in a certain direction—can...

DC Zoo Animals Sensed Quake
 DC Zoo Animals Sensed Quake  

DC Zoo Animals Sensed Quake

Apes starting climbing seconds before ground started shaking

(Newser) - In a mysterious phenomenon that has been observed since ancient times, animals at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, appear to have sensed Tuesday's earthquake before humans did. Seconds before the ground began to shake, gorillas and orangutans dropped their food, grabbed their young, and climbed as high as...

How Dolphins Can Help Us Meet Aliens

Before we talk to ET, let's chat with our fellow Earthlings

(Newser) - Scientists have been discovering plenty of new planets, and eventually, perhaps one will contain life—but we’d have no way to talk to the aliens. Until then, we can practice on creatures here on Earth: dolphins, who are capable of some surprisingly sophisticated thinking. We’ve tried to chat...

Pigeons Love to Gamble: Study
 Pigeons Love to Gamble: Study 

Pigeons Love to Gamble: Study

Research suggests gambling is natural urge, even at lousy odds

(Newser) - Gambling may be a fundamental part of human—and avian—nature, according to researchers who were surprised to learn that pigeons like gambling as much as people do. In the "pigeon casino" the researchers set up, trained birds given a choice of pecking a button that delivered three pellets...

What Your Dog's Thinking
 What Your Dog's Thinking 

What Your Dog's Thinking

Guess what: When he slobbers all over your face, that's not love

(Newser) - When your dog licks your face, he's not trying to “kiss” you or demonstrate his affection; he's hoping to lap up any regurgitated food you might have to offer him. That's just one of the many unsettling revelations doled out by Alexandra Horowitz in an interview with ABC News...

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