Dominance: An illusion when it comes to dog-human relationships
The always astute John Bradshaw wrote a lovely summary this week as to why trying to assess your relationship with you dog through the lens of a hierarchy is misguided and a possible welfare issue. Read it here!
Could a parrot serve as a witness?
A fascinating story of a parrot who knew too much...while humans have a long history of placing animals on trial, this is a new case questioning whether a talking parrot who had been previously owned by a mob boss could provide court evidence against him. ...continue reading →
Warthogs in Uganda may find themselves being bitten by ticks. A solution? Lie down and let the mongooses climb on them to snack on said ticks. This type of relationship, where both species benefit, is called a mutualism. Read more here.
Birds may use alligators as security guards -- previous studies show that birds that nest near alligator habitat produce more offspring. But a new study also showed that alligators near nesting birds were heartier, suggesting that the nesting birds may "pay" for this security service with a few babies that fall out of the nest...into the alligator's mouth. Read a summary here.
Why are New Caledonian crows good at some tasks and not others? Is it the nature of the test? Researchers in New Zealand looked at the reasons that primates performed better on "self-control tasks" in a recent study that compared cognition across many species (hey I was one of the many authors of that study!) - could hands and experience with humans have an effect?
Meanwhile, a new paper explores the fact that corvids and parrots show cognitive abilities on par with primates, despite having a VERY different brain structure (which lacks the neocortex that is often considered responsible for "higher functions"). Summary here.