Mammals

The Thoughtful Animal

Category archives for Mammals

Human infants have one important job during the first years of life, and that is to learn about the world and their culture from their parents and other caregivers. But what is learning? I’ve previously written that Hungarian developmental psychologists Gergely and Csibra have defined learning as the acquisition of new, generalizable knowledge that can…

What is learning? Most psychologists (indeed, most people in general) would agree that learning is the acquisition of new knowledge, or new behaviors, or new skills. Hungarian psychologists Gergely and Csibra offer a deceptively simple description: “Learning involves acquiring new information and using it later when necessary.” What this means is that learning requires the…

Baby Animals at the LA Zoo

I’ve been a bit remiss in posting much this week, mostly because I had to prep a guest lecture (from which I just returned, and it was awesome thankyouverymuch) on the Domestication of Social Cognition. In the meantime, now that spring is here, baby animals are starting to pop up all over the LA Zoo.…

This newest addition to the Cincinnati Zoo, a female giraffe, was born last Saturday, April 2, 2011. She’s the first giraffe born at at the Cincinnati Zoo in 26 years. Head on over to their facebook page and suggest a name! Oh, and did you know that giraffes can (sort of) swim? Check out Darren…

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…

Given the recent elephant hunting scandal, I thought I’d repost this award-winning piece from the archives, on a very clever way to deter elephants from raiding human settlements. Much cleverer than shooting them. (Click on the archives icon for the original.) What information is contained in the call of a mammal? Some calls might reflect…

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…

I’ve got a new piece over at the Scientific American Guest Blog: On Friday, March 11, Japan was rocked by an earthquake. People were displaced, a nuclear reactor was in trouble, and the world watched as a tsunami flooded Japan, threatened the islands of the Pacific, and ultimately hit the western coasts of North and…

Via the Smithsonian Channel: Gudrun Pflueger, first seen in A Woman Among Wolves, returns to wolf country after a grueling and terrifying bout with cancer. Determined to fight for the wolves who gave her the strength to survive her illness, Pflueger battles freezing temperatures and personal setbacks to track the wolves in the wild. The…