Human-Animal Relationship

The Thoughtful Animal

Category archives for Human-Animal Relationship

I will be reposting some dog-related posts from the archives in the coming few weeks as I prepare for the course I’m teaching this semester on dog cognition. Please let me know if you find something inaccurate or unclear. Domesticated dogs seem to have an uncanny ability to understand human communicative gestures (see here). If…

Social Cognition in Polar Bears

In most zoos and animal parks, polar bears (ursus maritimus) attract such a disproportionate amount of attention that they are referred to in the industry as “charismatic megafauna,” or in other words, “really cool animals.” Perhaps it is because it is especially rare for the average zoo-goer to happen upon a polar bear in the…

It’s been a pretty long stressful week around here, and not just because of Pepsipocalypse and the resulting fallout. But, well, I’m back, and I have an awesome paper to tell you about. When I saw it I just KNEW it had to be blogged. Mythbuster Adam Savage sets the yawning in motion in Mythbusters…

I am quite full from the last minute Fourth of July dinner that my brother and I threw together – featuring grilled chicken-apple sausages, roasted pork tenderloin with lemon-pepper dry rub, and chocolate peanut butter cookies. Too full to blog. Instead as I’m working my way through season six of Buffy on Netflix, I’ve got…

Baby Mountain Lions!

Figure 1: Mountain lion kitten. From my good friends at LAist: Since 2002, biologists having been tracking and studying the movements of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains to better understand how they live surrounded by development.

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! I spent a lot of time today thinking back to why I started blogging in the first place, while I was at my parents house doing the other-than-science things that I love to do: playing with the dog, cooking, gardening. I realized that I’ve not done enough of that stuff lately.…

A few weeks ago I emailed Vanessa Woods and asked her pretty please if I could review her book. After reading all of the bonobo and chimpanzee papers written by Vanessa and her husband Brian Hare (both now at Duke) over the years, as well as their research on domesticated dogs and silver foxes (some…

Yesterday afternoon, I watched the livestream of the “All Creatures Great and Smart” session of the World Science Festival in New York City. The session was absolutely fantastic, and featured Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods, Jeremy Niven, Patrick Hof and Klaus Zuberb├╝hler. The conversation challenged long-held assumptions about the differences between “animal” and “human”, and included…

The perspective that whales, dolphins, and other such marine mammals should be afforded “human rights” has surfaced again. I thought I’d revisit a post I wrote about this several months ago, from the archives, when this first hit the news after the AAAS conference in San Diego. So here’s a modified, updated version of the…

Let me tell you a little story. When I was born my parents had two cats. One was named Garfield. The other…well, I don’t remember what the other one was called. Not long after I was born, and little Jason was coughing up furballs, the doctors informed the parents that their little bundle of skin…