Tag Archives: ravens

The cricket equivalent of a box of chocolates?

Male crickets give the female an edible packet of proteins to consume during mating. This sort of "nuptual gift" is fairly common in insects, and may allow physiological and behavioral changes that increase the chance of a successful mating! The longer it takes the female to eat the packet, the better the sperm transfer. Other insects give dead insects or even their own body as part of this pre-nup arrangement, so seems like crickets are getting off pretty easily (no pun intended!).

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Animals experience the "Uncanny Valley"

The uncanny valley is that strange feeling you experience when you see something that is almost, but not quite, human-like, such as animation in a film or video game, or robotic movements that mimic our own. You may even experience this feeling when you see other primates. Some folks have suggested that "the valley"  may be what caused us to kill off Neanderthals (although I'm still looking for a more reputable source on this topic)!

Long story short, turns out that a recent study suggests that monkeys are also disturbed by almost life-like images of other monkeys. Marc Bekoff gives some nice explanations for why animals might be hardwired to look for stimuli that match expectations of what other members of their species should look or act like (or as another scientist points out, these likenesses may not be visual at all, but could be sound or olfactory-based).  Read it all here!

What does this mean for robo-squirrel?

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Crows can wait for bigger rewards

The marshmallow task is a classic psychological paradigm (often tested on children) - would you rather have one marshmallow now - or wait and receive two marshmallows later?

Researchers examined whether crows and ravens, known for their intelligence and patience, would rather eat a treat now, or wait a period of time and exchange the treat for a more preferred food item. Their patience depended on the value of the treat, but the clever corvids showed that they exhibit a good amount of self-control. The results have just been published in the journal Animal Behaviour and you can read a summary here.

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