Archive for the ‘Ethology’ Category

Can Elephants Be Persons?


(Aeon) – Don Ross:

Elephants might have the necessary cognitive and emotional capacities for personhood, and even the potential to share joint experience of personhood with us, if we help them acquire new cognitive scaffolding. As G. A. Bradshaw describes in her book with justified anguish, they already suffer emotional trauma and normative collapse when people subject them to violence. We have urgent reasons for stopping this slaughter. A time might come soon when we can and should apologise to the victims, in terms they can appreciate as fellow persons. …

aeon elephants persons

Elephant herd


What Manatees Do During Hurricane Season


(Atlantic Science) – Ed Yong:

The gentle giants have ended up in golf courses, forests, and backyards. …

theatlantic 572920

Manatees at Crystal River

What Separates Us From Other Animals?


(Guardian::Science Books) – Adam Rutherford:

From masturbating dolphins to chimps using tools, animals often display behaviours that we’d consider human. So what makes us unique? …

theguardian 2018/sep/21 human-instinct

Adam Rutherford: The Book of Humans: The Story of How We Became Us

A Silly Trend Among Dolphins


(Atlantic Science) – Ed Yong:

In 1995, a bottlenose dolphin named Billie leaped from the water of Port River, Australia, and began “tail-walking” in circles around Mike Bossley’s boat.

Up until that point, a wild bottlenose dolphin had never been seen tail-walking, and for good reason: It’s a trick that’s taught to dolphins in captivity. Bossley soon realized that Billie not only had learned the trick during a brief stint in dolphin rehab, but then had passed it on to her wild peers. …

theatlantic 2018/09 tail-walking

Billie tail-walks

Intelligent birds


(Guardian::Science) – Brigid Harrison-Draper:

Certain species of bird have surprised researchers recently with their ability to fashion tools and solve complex problems. …

theguardian 2018/jul/15 intelligent-birds

Tool-using rook

Aliens in the Mist


(Discover Blogs::Out There) – Corey S. Powell:

What would happen if we found an intelligent alien civilization that was less advanced than our own? I posed this as a hypothetical question in a recent blog post. But really, it doesn’t need to be posed as a hypothetical. The answer is playing out right now in the forests of Africa, and it doesn’t reflect very well on us. …

outthere 2017/12/07 gorilla_aliens

Dian Fossey and mountain gorillas

Humpback Whales Remix Their Old Songs


(Atlantic Science) – Ed Yong:

They combine tunes at musically similar places, like the world’s biggest DJs. …

theatlantic 2017/07 534636

Humpback whale

How Whales Sleep


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

A photographer went up close to a pod of giant sperm whales and captured incredible photos of the animals asleep in a vertical pose, a rare sight. …

singham 2017/07/18 whales-sleep

Sleeping sperm whales

Dolphin Intelligence


(National Geographic) – Joshua Foer:

Dolphins are extraordinarily garrulous. Not only do they whistle and click, but they also emit loud broadband packets of sound called burst pulses to discipline their young and chase away sharks. Scientists listening to all these sounds have long wondered what, if anything, they might mean. Surely such a large-brained, highly social creature wouldn’t waste all that energy babbling beneath the waves unless the vocalizations contained some sort of meaningful content. And yet despite a half century of study, nobody can say what the fundamental units of dolphin vocalization are or how those units get assembled. …


Spinner dolphins

Jamming Bat Sonar


(Phenomena::Not Exactly Rocket Science) – Ed Yong:

Bats live in a world of acoustic warfare. Their sonar, or echolocation, allows them to hunt in total darkness, but it also makes them vulnerable. …


Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)