Conflict & Cooperation

The Thoughtful Animal

Category archives for Conflict & Cooperation

You know that old phrase, “monkey see, monkey do”? Well, there might be something to it, except that chimpanzees aren’t monkeys. (Sadly, “ape see, ape do” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.) A new paper published today in PLoS ONE has found evidence that chimpanzees have contagious yawning – that is, they can…

I was reading Christie’s excellent post (and you should too) on GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons’ elephant killing incident (is it too early to be calling this #ElephantGate?) Although I don’t know quite enough about what is going on in Zimbabwe, I tend to err on the side of not intentionally killing elephants because – as…

A new piece by me today at the Scientific American Guest Blog, on some exciting news from the Jane Goodall Institute and Duke University: Fifty years ago, in the summer of 1960 – the same year that a US satellite snapped the first photo of the Earth from space, the same year that the CERN…

Welcome to the third installment of Animal Territoriality Week. See part 1 here, and part 2 here. In 1994, a disease called sarcoptic mange swept through Bristol’s fox population, severely crippling the population and killing most of the individuals. Professor Stephen Harris of the University of Bristol, who had been studying the movements and territories…

Welcome to Territoriality Week! Every day this week, I’ll have a post about some aspect of animal or human territoriality. How do animals mark and control their territories? What determines the size or shape of an animal’s territory? What can an animal’s territory tell us about neuroanatomy? Today, I begin by asking two questions: first,…

“At home, a young man should be dutiful towards his parents; going outside, he should be respectful towards his elders.” -Confucius (Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BCE) “Your real boss is the one who walks under your hat.” -Napoleon Hill (American author, 1883-1970) Those two quotations reflect a cultural difference in how people construct their own conceptions…

Eric M. Johnson and I spent about 45 minutes discussing “evolutionary psychology beyond sex” last night, which you can see today on Bloggingheads “Science Saturday.” Or just watch it here:

“Two chimps had been shut out of their shelter by mistake during a cold rain storm. They were standing dejeted, water streaming down their shivering bodies, when Professor K√∂hler chanced to pass.” Upon opening the door for the two chimps, Dr. James Leuba recounts, “instead of scampering in without more ado, as many a child…

Even still, we tend to think of the turkey as a fairly unintelligent bird, skilled at little more than waddling around, emitting the occasional “gobble,” and frying up golden-brown-and-delicious. But…what if I told you that the domestic turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) could actually be quite clever, at least when it comes to social cognition? Apocryphal or…

Scientists thought they had a pretty good handle on the social interactions of bottlenose dophins (Tursiops). They’ve used the term fission-fusion dynamics to describe dolphin (and non-human primate) society and so far it has served researchers well. Fission-fusion societies among dolphins are characterized by two levels of social hierarchy: groups of two or three related…