Mammals

Category archives for Mammals

I’ll never forget my first lion. A colleague and I had just arrived in the Semliki Valley, in the Congo, to a part of that valley then known as the most predator-rich region of Africa, with loads of lions and heaps of hyenas. Lots of leopards too. We arrived at the main base camp for…

How doe a mammal know what a smell is, and more importantly, how does a mammal learn new smells? Recent research suggests that different kinds of neurons reorganize in novel ways in response to olfactory signals to produce an olfactory memory. Below is a video made by the research team that explains this. If that…

Bovids Of The World

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are 143 species of bovids. The Animal Diversity Web is a bit less precise, indicating that there are “more than 140 extant and 300 extinct species.” That second number is highly questionable because today there exist sister species that are so similar I doubt they could be told apart…

How Dogs Won The World

Years ago I proposed a theory (not anywhere in print, just in seminars and talks) that went roughly like this. Humans hunt. Dogs hunt. Prey animals get hunted. Each species (or set of species) has a number of characteristics such as the ability to stalk, track, kill, run away, form herds, etc. Now imagine a…

We need to act urgently to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution we humans create in order to slow down and eventually stop climate change. In the mean time we see case after case of something happening that seems unusual and that seems linked to global warming. We need not wait for the jury…

Are Pigs Really Like People?

We hear this all the time. Pig physiology is like people physiology. Pigs and humans have the same immune system, same digestive system, get the same diseases. Pigs are smart like people are smart. Pigs are smarter than dogs. And so on. Ask a faunal expert in archaeology or a human paleoanatomist: Pig teeth are…

Three pictures of cats

Since it is Caturday, and I don’ think I’ve posted these before. A King Cheetah (a rather large form of cat) in South Africa: Picture Of Cat On Top Photo Credit: Gatto Mimmo via Compfight cc

UPDATE: They killed the dog. UPDATE: I’m adding this here because it is my current post on Ebola. Thomas Eric Duncan, the person who became symptomatic with Ebola in Dallas, had died at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital (according to news alerts). A nurse’s assistant in Spain caring for Spanish nationals returned with Ebola from…

It has long been known by humans that female mammals can be attracted with the call of a young in distress. There is a famous documentary film of the Hadza, a foraging group in Tanzania, in which this method is used by young boys to trap Dasssies (rock Hyrax). First you catch a baby Dassie…

Yes, yes, we hear it all the time: More CO2 is good because plants love CO2 That is a rather dumb thing to say for a number of reasons; nature is not simple. You don’t change one variable and expect other variables to respond as though we were turning a garden hose up or down.…