Friday, June 18, 2021


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

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

Who’s Smarter, The Chicken Or The Toddler?

(ANIMAL SCIENCE) Chickens are definitely smarter than they look, according to a very enlightening study. The domesticated fowl is able to apply logic, understand physics, navigate efficiently, and much more. Some of the chicken's mental capabilities are usually only seen in children above the age of four, thus inferring that chickens may be smarter than your average toddler. Continue reading for more on the interesting study and this "egg-cellent" bird. — Global Animal

Are Jellyfish Taking Over The Oceans?

(OCEANS/JELLYFISH) Despite popular belief that these gelatinous sea creatures are taking over the world's oceans, studies suggest there is in fact a 20-year cycle which directly correlates to the abundance of jellyfish in various parts of the world. According to researchers from the Global Jellyfish Group, this current rise in the cycle may have created the perception of a global swell in jellyfish. In fact, multidecadal cycles are common in nature, whether in growth patterns and populations in organisms or physical circumstances such as the oxygen concentration of the oceans. Read more about the recent study pertaining to the rise-and-fall cycle of these populous sea organisms. — Global Animal

Deer In Headlights: Why Do They Stand There?

(ANIMAL FACTS/SCIENCE) We've all heard the expression "like a deer in the headlights," but why do deer just stand in front of a moving car? Here's why headlights can make a deer freeze. Also, see the linked article below for tips to avoid hitting deer. — Global Animal

Striped, Yes. But Are Zebras Really Black & White?

(WILDLIFE/ANIMAL FACTS) The zoological Rorschach test: Are zebras white with black stripes or black with white stripes? There's actually persuasive science for one over the other. Go ahead and guess the color of a zebra's stripes. Black or white? Then find out below if you were right! — Global Animal

Dogs & Drinks: The Science Behind Lapping

(DOGS/ANIMAL SCIENCE) An apple falling could be explained by the law of gravity and water staying safely in a swinging bucket by centripetal force. Science is wonderful that way. But what about the simple act of a dog lapping water? You can finally understand how your pooch does it, thanks to a few dedicated Harvard and MIT researchers. Just in time for World Water Day, read on to learn about the science behind how dogs drink water. — Global Animal

Bees Soar Above Computers At Math

(BEES/ANIMAL SCIENCE) Bees vs. Google maps, who will win? A bee, of course! Even though their brains are only the size of grass seeds, bees are able to find the fastest route possible between several flowers, much like a computer can calculate the quickest route to the airport, only bees do it faster. Read on to learn more on how bees are secretly mathematical geniuses. — Global Animal

Is That A Caterpillar Or Donald Trump’s Hair?

(ANIMAL SCIENCE) There's a new bigwig in the rainforest—literally. A rare yellow-colored caterpillar of the flannel moth species in the Amazon has been nicknamed the "Donald Trump Caterpillar." The peculiar creature bears a shocking resemblance to the golden do of the 2016 Presidential candidate himself, yet the caterpillar's blonde mane actually consists of venomous setae that can cause serious skin irritations. So don't touch this fuzzy insect, or "you're fired!" Continue reading for more on this bigwig bug's story. — Global Animal