buzz

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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…

Last week, Travis, Christie, Scicurious and I spent about 45 minutes in a skype conference call. The first 15 minutes were spent making fun of Travis for his strange Canadian speech patterns, and sympathizing with poor Christie for not being able to talk to us while enjoying the beautiful Hawaiian air, because just as we…

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…

Once upon a Thursday night, blog bff Scicurious asked a particular blogger named Jason if he had access to a paper titled, Contraceptive efficacy of polyester-induced azoospermia in normal men. “I certainly hope so,” he said. And so he logged in to his university’s library proxy website, and searched for the paper. She said, “PLEASE…

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…

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…

Elephants Say “Bee-ware!”

What information is contained in the call of a mammal? Some calls might reflect the internal emotional state of the animal, like fear or anxiety, or they can refer to an external object, agent, or event, like the presence of a predator. Rhesus monkeys, lemurs, baboons, and guinea pigs, for example, will produce calls when…

Happy Earth Day, everyone! In honor of the day, here’s a modified re-post of piece I wrote recently for LAist. Figure 1: Photo by poloroid-girl via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr. The great philosopher Kermit the Frog once said, “It’s not that easy being green.” Maybe he was on to something. You can’t walk three…

The party isn’t over yet! Here’s another helping of Monday Pets. Enjoy! Wild Dog crawled into the Cave and laid his head on the Woman’s lap… And the Woman said, “His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend.” –Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling. Archaeological evidence indicates that dogs were already a…

The party continues! Today you get a double-dose of Monday Pets. Here’s one from the archives. Later today, you can expect a new one. I often write about animals that the average person does not interact with all that much on a day-to-day basis. Today, I introduce something I like to call “Monday Pets”. The…