Monday Pets

The Thoughtful Animal

Category archives for Monday Pets

Hands Off My Bone!

Different dog growls mean different things, right? Probably. But can you tell the difference? Here’s a dog growling when someone is trying to steal its food: link to mp3. Here’s a dog growling at a stranger: link to mp3. You probably can’t tell the difference. Neither could I. Dogs can. Surprised? Probably not. But, this…

“But wait,” you say. “Anteaters aren’t pets!” Well, I didn’t think so either. But Salvador Dali had a pet anteater. And that’s good enough for me. Figure 1: Salvador Dali taking his pet anteater for a stroll. (Source) The Giant Anteater, Myrmecophaga tridactyla, only eats ants and termites, making it a myrmecophage. (Hey, Alex Wild,…

In general, the ability to attribute attention to others seems important: it allows an animal to notice the presence of other individuals (whether conspecifics, prey, or predators) as well as important locations or events by following the body orientation or eyegaze of others. We’ve spent a lot of time here at The Thoughtful Animal thinking…

From the archives… Figure 1: Does Mickey feel empathy? It probably depends on how you define empathy. Empathy, by any definition, implies emotional sensitivity to the affective state of another. Sometimes the empathy response is automatic or reflexive, like when babies start to cry upon hearing another baby crying. Sometimes a strong cognitive component is…

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…

She: “What are you writing about?” Me: “Cognition in cold-blooded animals.” She: “Hot.” Most people who study cognition focus on mammals or birds. But I hope I’ve convinced you that other animals are important to investigate as well. One research group at the University of Vienna likes cold-blooded critters. Turtles and lizards and such. They…

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.…

I’ve decided I want to cover some recent research on social cognition in domesticated dogs. But first, we need some background. So here’s a repost from the old blog. Today I want to tell you about one of my most favorite studies, ever, of animals. Are you ready? It’s a FIFTY YEAR LONG longitudinal study…

Zen recently wrote mentioned this study on his blog, so I thought it was time to dredge it out of the archives. Also, I’ve just returned from APS (see my daily recaps here here and here), and I am TIRED. Domestic animals and their wild counterparts can be different in big ways; there can be…

Lately, a paper to be published in the June edition of the American Naturalist has been getting some attention. The findings that are getting reported out of this paper didn’t make sense to me, but I wondered if this was an issue with accuracy in reporting. So I went and found the paper. Turns out…