Tag Archives: animal behavior

Behaviour of seabirds during migration revealed

The behaviour of seabirds during migration – including patterns of foraging, rest and flight – has been revealed in new detail using novel computational analyses and tracking technologies.

Using a new method called ‘ethoinformatics’, described as the application of computational methods in the investigation of animal behaviour, scientists have been able to analyse three years of migration data gathered from miniature tracking devices attached to the small seabird the Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus). (more…)

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New Measurement of Crocodilian Nerves Could Lead to Better Understanding of Ancient Animals’ Behavior, MU Researcher Finds

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— Crocodilians have nerves on their faces that are so sensitive, they can detect a change in a pond when a single drop hits the water surface several feet away. Alligators and crocodiles use these “invisible whiskers” to detect prey when hunting. Now, a new study from the University of Missouri has measured the nerves responsible for this function, which will help biologists understand how today’s animals, as well as dinosaurs and crocodiles that lived millions of years ago, interact with the environment around them. (more…)

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Male lions use ambush hunting strategy

Washington, D.C.— It has long been believed that male lions are dependent on females when it comes to hunting. But new evidence suggests that male lions are, in fact, very successful hunters in their own right. A new report from a team including Carnegie’s Scott Loarie and Greg Asner shows that male lions use dense savanna vegetation for ambush-style hunting in Africa. Their work is published in Animal Behavior.  
 
Female lions have long been observed to rely on cooperative strategies to hunt their prey. While some studies demonstrated that male lions are as capable at hunting as females, the males are less likely to cooperate, so there were still questions as to how the males manage to hunt successfully. The possibility that male lions used vegetation for ambushing prey was considered, but it was difficult to study given the logistics and dangers of making observations of lions in densely vegetated portions of  the African savanna.  (more…)

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Crows React to Threats in Human-like Way

Cross a crow and it’ll remember you for years.

Crows and humans share the ability to recognize faces and associate them with negative, as well as positive, feelings. The way the brain activates during that process is something the two species also appear to share, according to new research being published this week.

“The regions of the crow brain that work together are not unlike those that work together in mammals, including humans,” said John Marzluff, University of Washington professor of environmental and forest sciences. “These regions were suspected to work in birds but not documented until now. (more…)

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Microbes Help Hyenas Communicate via Scent

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Bacteria in hyenas’ scent glands may be the key controllers of communication.

The results, featured in the current issue of Scientific Reports, show a clear relationship between the diversity of hyena clans and the distinct microbial communities that reside in their scent glands, said Kevin Theis, the paper’s lead author and Michigan State University postdoctoral researcher.

“A critical component of every animal’s behavioral repertoire is an effective communication system,” said Theis, who co-authored the study with Kay Holekamp, MSU zoologist. “It is possible that without their bacteria, many animals couldn’t ‘say’ much at all.” (more…)

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What Do Animals ‘Know’? More Than You May Think

Rats use their knowledge to make decisions when faced with ambiguous situations, UCLA psychologists report.

“Rats often make judgments and behave as if they’re rational creatures,” said UCLA associate professor of psychology Aaron Blaisdell, a member of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute and senior author of a new study published in the December issue of the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.

“To make a decision in the face of uncertainty, rats call on prior history and reasoning,” Blaisdell said. “They apply what they know to a situation where they are uncertain. The rats are not necessarily thinking like little humans, but they have learned through experience. A lot of animal behavior seems to be rational. Their behavior follows logical inferences.” (more…)

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Suzanne Alonzo: A Voice That Says ‘I Think You Can’

At one time or another, however briefly, many of the budding scientists Suzanne Alonzo works with in her laboratory or classroom have experienced a crisis of confidence — or, at the least, a bit of doubt about their academic path.

In these times, the associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology tries to be a voice of encouragement, even though says she knows she can’t take on her students’ challenges. (more…)

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Contact With Dads Drops When Women Ovulate

*Evidence of evolutionary protection against inbreeding in women?*

Through an innovative use of cell phone records, researchers at UCLA, the University of Miami and Cal State, Fullerton, have found that women appear to avoid contact with their fathers during ovulation. 

“Women call their dads less frequently on these high-fertility days and they hang up with them sooner if their dads initiate a call,” said Martie Haselton, a UCLA associate professor of communication in whose lab the research was conducted.  (more…)

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