Tag: Animal Behavior

Zoos Called It a ‘Rescue.’ But Are the Elephants Really Better Off?

The “Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley” enclosure at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan., is a dreamscape idyll of an elephant’s natural home: five and a half sprawling acres of tree-dotted mock savanna and a 550,000-gallon pond where boated people and wading pachyderms can nearly meet on opposite sides of a discreetly submerged […]

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This Creature Eats Stone. Sand Comes Out the Other End.

Lithoredo abatanica is an organism with an unusual appetite: This creature eats stone. And when it excretes, what comes out is sand, the leftovers of a still-mysterious digestion process. The mollusk, unearthed from the bottom of a river in the Philippines, was introduced this week by an international group of scientists in Proceedings of the […]

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Those Puppy Dog Eyes You Can’t Resist? Thank Evolution

You know that face your dog makes, the one that’s a little bit quizzical, maybe a bit sad, a bit anticipatory, with the eyebrows slanted? Sometimes you think it says, “Don’t be sad. I can help.” Other times it quite clearly asks, “No salami for me?” Scientists have not yet been able to translate the […]

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The Vampire Birds of the Galápagos Have Fascinating Inner Lives

For half the year, a little brown bird on the northernmost islands of the Galápagos uses its wickedly sharp beak to pick at seeds, nectar and insects. But when the climate dries out, it drinks blood. Yes, there is such a thing as a vampire finch. Yes, it is what it sounds like. Galápagos finches […]

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Fighting the Gender Stereotypes That Warp Biomedical Research

Say you are prescribed medication for depression, anxiety or even just to sleep. Would you want to take it if you knew that the drug had only been tested on men and male animals? Rebecca Shansky, a neuroscientist at Northeastern University in Boston, thinks you might not. When she tells nonscientific audiences that researchers “for […]

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A School of Fish, Captured in a Fossil

Fish can band together, sometimes in the millions, to form a school or shoal. They will move as one, like a flock of birds, so long as each fish stays in line with the fish that surround it. Modern fish, as well as other kinds of animals, already know how to move as one. But […]

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