Science stories about animal research, including wildlife conservation and endangered animals studies.

Birds flying in the sky, fly in a V to save energy.

Why A ‘V’ Formation Is For The Birds

(BIRDS/ANIMAL NEWS) Everyone's familiar with the V formation that birds fly in when they travel, but do you know why they choose to fly in a V? Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College in London conducted a study published in the international journal, Nature, and concluded that the V formation is an energy saving way for birds to travel. Continue reading below to find out how birds save energy by flying in a V. — Global Animal

The Great Climate Silence: Denying Our Earth’s Decline

(CLIMATE CHANGE/GLOBAL WARMING) How can we plan for a future when we're damaging the Earth in ways that threaten its very survival? Simply put, human activities are disrupting Earth's ability to function. Yet despite surmounting evidence, influential voices--including our own president--claim nothing is happening and that scientists are deceiving us. But (believe it or not) our human imprint on the global environment rivals some of the greatest forces of nature. Due to the ever-growing and persistent presence of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere for millions of years, global warming from the 20th and 21st Century is expected to quell our next ice age (in 50,000 years) and quite possibly the one to follow, as well (in 130,000 years). In the article below, public intellectual and Professor Clive Hamilton addresses the Great Climate Silence--in other words, how society is largely ignoring and/or downplaying the real threat of climate change. He claims that we are in a bizarre situation where humankind is strong enough to change the course of the Earth, yet we are unable to regulate ourselves. Continue reading below for an edited extract from Hamilton’s Defiant Earth: The fate of humans in the Anthropocene, and learn more the detriment of our intellectual surrender. -- Global Animal

The Planet Can’t Stand This Presidency: ‘Breaking The Back’ Of The Climate

(CLIMATE CHANGE/GLOBAL WARMING) Despite the fact the Earth just experienced its hottest year on record, climate change denials are foolishly becoming national policy as U.S. President Donald Trump signs one executive order after another reversing President Barack Obama's plans to reduce carbon emissions. Given this stark divide between scientific fact and what our politicians will allow for in terms of action, it's become increasingly apparent that we have a limited time to curb global warming, and if we don't do something soon, the damage could be irreversible. Trump's environmental policies (or lack there of) will have a ripple effect for thousands of years to come that we may never recover from--i.e. making certain species and fauna extinct. In the article below, learn more about our Earth's dire need for climate change policy, and see what we could lose for good. -- Global Animal

Rastacaps & Rover: Music That’s Jamaican Dogs Crazy

(DOGS/PETS) Dogs love reggae! Who knew?! According to researchers, dogs prefer reggae over any other genre of music. After placing heart monitors on shelter pups, reggae lowered their heart rates the most. Let's face it, these fury friends are stressed out in shelters. They deserve to relax while they wait for their forever families. Read on to find out how we can help man's best friends so they can stop worrying, and be happy. -- Global Animal

Scientists Answer Burning Question: Which Animals Fart?

(ANIMAL SCIENCE/ANIMAL FACTS) It may seem juvenile, but scientists across the world are working to answer the burning question: Does it fart? We all know that humans fart, but what about other animal species? If you're curious to find out, there's now a Twitter hashtag, #DoesItFart, circulating, along with a Google Spreadsheet listing all of the animal species that do, and don't, cut the cheese every now and then. Believe it or not, most animals, in fact, do fart. But not all. For instance, birds and marine invertebrates like crabs, oysters, and mussels don't seem to have the biological need to pass gas. Read on to learn more about the science of farts, and find out which animal species do or don't experience flatulence. -- Global Animal

Masters Of Disguise: Meet The Masquerading Spider

(SPIDERS/ANIMAL SCIENCE) Matjaz Kunter, an investigator with the Evolutionary Zoology lab, accidentally stumbled upon a new species of spider. This unnamed arachnid disguises itself as a dead leaf, dangling in the wind. Researchers found that the spider's back resembles a living, green leaf, while their underside is brown. In fact, their camouflage is so brilliant, researchers are having trouble locating more of the spiders to study. Read on to find out more about these elusive masters of disguise. -- Global Animal

Tickled Pink: Can Rats Experience Joy?

(RATS/ANIMAL SCIENCE) Not a fan of rats? This new study might change your mind! Neuroscientists are tickling rats in an attempt to demonstrate the similarities between rats and humans when they're tickled. Believe it or not, the rats loved being tickled so much, they would let out the rat-equivalent of laughter, jump for joy, and even seek out the scientists' hands for more. But just like with humans, you can't tickle rats when they're not in a good mood. While the research might all sound like fun and games, the study actually has several implications for human psychology, and helps explain how moods affect behavior as well as the importance of touch when establishing social bonds. Continue reading to learn more about what these striking similarities between humans and rats suggest, and how the study is an importantnt contribution to the world of psychology. -- Global Animal

Does Your Dog Really Know What You’re Saying?

(DOGS/ANIMAL SCIENCE) Haven't you ever wondered if man's best friend actually knows what you're saying? According to a new study, Fido may be smarter than you think! Similarly to humans, dogs use the left side of their brain to process language, but they use the right side of their brain to process intonation. So apparently your intonation when speaking is just as important to your dog as the words themselves. Read on for more on the study and understanding how dogs interpret human speech. -- Global Animal

No Such Thing As “Responsible” Research: Second Thoughts Of An Animal Researcher

(ANIMAL TESTING/RESEARCH ANIMALS) In 2011, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) put an end to biomedical and behavioral research on chimpanzees, claiming they deserved “special consideration and respect” as the closest human relative. But chimps are far from being the only nonhuman primates used in NIH research then, or now. An estimated 70,000 other primates are still victims of animal research in labs all across the U.S. While the NIH is reviewing “continued responsible research” with these animals, animal researcher John P. Gluck knows firsthand that “responsible” research is not enough. Being a responsible animal researcher goes beyond providing proper nutrition, safe housing, as well as having skilled and compassionate caretakers and veterinarians. Gluck claims, "What we really need to examine is the very moral ground of animal research itself." In the article below, Gluck asks, "Are there morally significant differences between the great apes and other primates?" Read on for more on the ethical principles that many use to justify animal research, as well as the shifting viewpoints surrounding modern-day animal experimentation. -- Global Animal

7 Animals Who Are Smarter Than People

(SMART ANIMALS/ANIMAL INTELLIGENCE) Some animals have certain sets of skills and smarts that are mind-boggling. Mapping out where your family members are by smell? A photographic memory and the ability to recall number sequences? Traversing the world and home again with no guidance but the tip of your beak? These are just some examples of how animals match, or surpass, people with their intelligence. Read on for seven notably smart animals and why they deserve our respect. — Global Animal

No Arachnophobia Allowed! Using Spiders To Heal Humans

(SPIDERS/ANIMAL SCIENCE) Professor Fritz Vollrath is your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. His research from Oxford University takes the study of spiders to a whole new level. Through years of research he has found that the silk from spiders can be used to assist in several medical treatments. Can you imagine having a knee replacement using spider webs? Read on to get your spidey senses tingling. -- Global Animal

Is It Possible To Eat Meat Without Killing Animals?

(ANIMAL WELFARE/ANIMAL SCIENCE) WASHINGTON— Uma S. Valeti, a cardiologist who trained at the Mayo Clinic, has developed an innovative way of farming meat without killing animals. This technique, which harvests animal cells in a laboratory, could transform the inhumane meat industry as we know it. Meat derived from slaughterhouses or animal farms can be packed with bacterial contamination, saturated fat, and antibiotics. While free-range and organic meat options are available for popular sale, these foods can still contain certain antibiotics and GMO's--and they could break the bank, too! Factory farms also pose a major threat to the environment. Nearly 40 percent of methane emissions and 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions are caused by animal agriculture. Although the meat industry is not disappearing anytime soon, Valeti has found a way to ultimately reduce the large-scale slaughtering of innocent animals. Read on to learn more about Valeti's method of eating meat without harming animals. — Global Animal

Too Much Puppy Love? Hugging It Out With Our Dogs

(DOGS/ANIMAL SCIENCE) Is there a such thing as too much puppy love? As it turns out, hugging a dog could actually increase their stress levels. In a new study, psychology professor Dr. Stanley Coren analyzed a random sampling of 250 pictures of people hugging dogs and identified a number of specific signs indicating a dog's stress. According to Coren, who has written a number of books about dog behavior, perhaps the most common indicator of anxiety is when the dog turns his or her head away, sometimes with closed to partially closed eyes. Another sign of stress is when the dog opens their eyes wide, showing the whites in a half-moon shape. While Coren maintains that hugging a dog can make them feel trapped, dog-huggers are not taking kindly to his theory, claiming their dogs actually love being hugged. What do you think? Should we hug it out with our dogs? Read on or listen to the podcast below to learn more about the cons of hugging our dogs. -- Global Animal

Tickling Apes Teaches How Humans Aren’t So Special

(ANIMAL SCIENCE/HUMAN ANIMAL CONNECTION) Why are humans so eager to project their own feelings and experiences onto animals? In doing so, aren't we forgetting that people are animals, too? Advanced skills once associated only with humans are actually found in many species, ranging from dolphins to wasps--thus defying the overall structure of the animal kingdom. So, isn't it more likely that every animal has their own cognition, adapted to their own senses and physicality? In the article below, Dutch primatologist and ethologist Frans de Waal tackles our overuse of the term "anthropomorphism," or the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to an animal. He argues that animals think much more deeply than we often assume, and humans should do away with insisting on our own species superiority. Read on for more on the connections between humans and various animal species, and learn how humans aren't so special after all. -- Global Animal