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March 09 2013


Dolphins see themselves in a mirror

Reposted bygifluvsoadystawaitingfortheguidexsylwiawiktoriaabng123nothingnessthenatussflawlessdzwiedzTheCrimsonIdolSmigolmuszapanimrukokretowazupaolldarkwhiteoneczarnyIhezalMissPunchlinekarofornicationdefetyzmplikmuzycznyAglarwenbakanojooushitty-loveshiaraenamaraskowafuckthisfuckthatxannmrc-hllskrolikberrydragoncataleya90lolanikaaaaagnytalugolanegacjatulelenostalgiaaniolawczorajznowubolalomniesercestreetspiritdivimakemewannadiefootmaneh-heeciarkaLauderdaknyuuszyymynamebizarreriejamaissiostranonenonenonenonviva-salvadorealmakrybusfatiqueprofuturoradykalnarollinsonowaPinkCoffeepotrzaskblehbeatlannawilczaapudziesztypeudechance3logoreathekokosskrzMuffintopidoitforthelulzcoffeeandunicornsSupremeNavMBHollenwulfychcetylkokimamurzyn44murzyn44pkz451theuselessbiiancaearterinsanedreamerbabazmiesnegoneunundneunzigNappoUshiwudziknothingmorejethraterazhalyscircusJesus666nodoprawdyjestjuzwiosnawrite-url-heredeleinmissmadeleinegaincalineczkaklusek98942akisamegumovskyretjivpunkracylordhelmofonskull-suturesfretkaSaper300deceivedalagosriceballmolotovcupcakefancy-clapscalysiumtronmaeiBincsmlaberblaBunnyBoolukensznoirfaerysdarqueAlexKaifembotshavefeelingstoomonkeyvaultamarusmissaintjplefoxsiriusminervalovesweetsperfectguy000monnnn066nicjuzniepowiemthefirstdropinyouImmortalysQudaciwonderlustqueentamiMigotliwaAmericanloverredheadladyszaaatanPsychoTheRapistkatz393freewaytrikkpolaczettoberrydragonletsgodrinktogetherkatkadrawruapartskrzLordKaczymozgmnieniebolixypusorangeugartemonkeyvaultMatrionaRasputinbwahahaha

November 17 2012

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(via scinerds)

Animals Are Moral Creatures, Scientist Argues

Until recently, scientists would have said your cat was snuggling up to you only as a means to get tasty treats. But many animals have a moral compass, and feel emotions such as love, grief, outrage and empathy, a new book argues.

The book, “Can Animals Be Moral?” (Oxford University Press, October 2012), suggests social mammals such as rats, dogs and chimpanzees can choose to be good or bad. And because they have morality, we have moral obligations to them, said author Mark Rowlands, a University of Miami philosopher.

“Animals are owed a certain kind of respect that they wouldn’t be owed if they couldn’t act morally,” Rowlands told LiveScience. But while some animals have complex emotions, they don’t necessarily have true morality, other researchers argue.

Moral behavior?

Some research suggests animals have a sense of outrage when social codes are violated. Chimpanzees may punish other chimps for violating certain rules of the social order, said Marc Bekoff, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-author of “Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals” (University Of Chicago Press, 2012).

Male bluebirds that catch their female partners stepping out may beat the female, said Hal Herzog, a psychologist at Western Carolina University who studies how humans think about animals.

And there are many examples of animals demonstrating ostensibly compassionate or empathetic behaviors toward other animals, including humans. In one experiment, hungry rhesus monkeys refused to electrically shock their fellow monkeys, even when it meant getting food for themselves. In another study, a female gorilla named Binti Jua rescued an unconscious 3-year-old (human) boy who had fallen into her enclosure at the Brookline Zoo in Illinois, protecting the child from other gorillas and even calling for human help. And when a car hit and injured a dog on a busy Chilean freeway several years ago, its canine compatriot dodged traffic, risking its life to drag the unconscious dog to safety.

All those examples suggest that animals have some sense of right and wrong, Rowlands said. “I think what’s at the heart of following morality is the emotions,” Rowlands said. “Evidence suggests that animals can act on those sorts of emotions.”

Instinct, not morals?

Not everyone agrees these behaviors equal morality, however. One of the most obvious examples — the guilty look of a dog that has just eaten a forbidden food — may not be true remorse, but simply the dog responding appropriately to its owner’s disappointment, according to a study published in the journal Behavioural Processes in 2009.

And animals don’t seem to develop or follow rules that serve no purpose for them or their species, suggesting they don’t reason about morality. Humans, in contrast, have a grab bag of moral taboos, such as prohibitions on eating certain foods, committing blasphemy, or marrying distant cousins.

“What I think is interesting about human morality is that often times there’s this wacky, arbitrary feature of it,” Herzog said. Instead, animal emotions may be rooted in instinct and hard-wiring, rather than conscious choice, Herzog said. “They look to us like moral behaviors, but they’re not rooted in the same mire of intellect and culture and language that human morality is,” he said.

Hard-wired morality

But Rowlands argues that such hair-splitting is overthinking things. In the case of the child-rescuing gorilla Binti Jua, for instance, “what sort of instinct is involved there? Do gorillas have an instinct to help unconscious boys in enclosures?” he said.

And even if instinct is involved, human parents have an instinctive desire to help their children, but that makes the desire no less moral, he said. Being able to reason about morality isn’t required to have a moral compass, he added. A 3-year-old child, for instance, may not consciously articulate a system of right and wrong, but will (hopefully) still feel guilty for stealing his playmate’s toy. (Scientists continue to debate whether or not babies have moral compasses.)

If one accepts that animals have moral compasses, Rowlands argues, we have the responsibility to treat them with respect, Rowlands said. “If the animal is capable of acting morally, I don’t think it’s problematic to be friends with your pets,” he said. “If you have a cat or a dog and you make it do tricks, I am not sure that’s respect. If you insist on dressing them up, I’m not sure I’m onboard with that either.”

Reposted bysiriusminerva siriusminerva

September 29 2012

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Called “feathered apes” for their simian like smarts, crows use tools, understand physics, and recognize themselves and humans. But new research suggests that the brainy birds may be even smarter than was previously thought. Given a complex problem and an assortment of tools, New Caledonian crows came up with a creative solution that hints at higher-order thinking.

crows are awesome

Reposted bysiriusminervahardkorweymonimichQudacifretkabeachcomber

August 27 2012

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… While it might not sound like much for scientists to declare that many nonhuman animals possess conscious states, it’s the open acknowledgement that’s the big news here. The body of scientific evidence is increasingly showing that most animals are conscious in the same way that we are, and it’s no longer something we can ignore. …

File under Well, Duh!

Ta much, dear Edosan!

(via Prominent scientists sign declaration that animals have conscious awareness, just like us)

Reposted bylmn lmn

August 01 2012


E.T. the Walrus practices his vocalizations at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (by PtDefianceZoo1)

June 14 2012


May 11 2012

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The ability could help the intelligent birds to thrive in urban environments; using vocal cues from their human and avian neighbours to find food or be alerted to potential threats.

The team used recordings of human voices and jackdaw calls to test the birds’ responses.

They published the findings in the journal Animal Cognition. …

(via BBC Nature - Crows know familiar human voices)

April 20 2012

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…Markus Boeckle and Thomas Bugnyar from the Department of Cognitive Biology of the University of Vienna show in their recent article, published in Current Biology, that ravens differentiate individuals based on familiarity. Additionally, they discovered that ravens memorize relationship valence and affiliation. …

… The ability to change call characteristics is especially interesting: In case they hear a “friendly” individual they respond with a “friendly” call, whereas when listening to a “foe”, they exhibit lower frequencies and rougher characteristics, an effect already described for other animal species.

Ravens respond to calls from previously unknown individuals with even lower and rougher calls and thus try to increase the acoustic perceivable body-size – also in humans larger people have lower voices than smaller ones and angry humans rougher voices. While it was known that mammals change their voices based on the relationship they share with others, the researchers were now able to show for the first time that also birds change their calls according to relationship quality.

The duration of the memory is beyond the previously estimated ability for birds; the ability to remember relationship valence has been shown for the first time in animals.

Via Ravens remember relationships they had with others by way of dear MSiegel

Reposted bysmoo smoo
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