Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘behavior’

Stressed out cat? Cat music may help

Do you have a stressed out cat? If so, try playing cat music, that’s right…music designed for cats. Researchers at Louisiana State University observed that music made specifically for felines can help them calm down during a visit to the vet. The special recordings (below) include cat vocalizations as well as sounds that are close to the vocal frequency of cats. The team found that cats who were exposed to […]

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Misery loves company

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that ravens appear to share negative emotions. The researchers started with offering birds two boxes placed on the left and right sides of the animals. While one box was empty, the other contained a piece of cheese (yum!). They then placed a box in a new location and examined how the birds responded. If a bird acted […]

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Ants ‘nurse’ their injured

A study conducted at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland shows that Matabele ants, Megaponera analis, lick wounds their comrades sustain while hunting termites. It is thought that this “nurse”-like behavior may help prevent infection as ants receiving such care are more likely to survive: Sources: Youtube / New Scientist Frank ET, Wehrhahn M, Linsenmair KE. Wound treatment and selective help in a termite-hunting ant. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2457  

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Individuality in woodpeckers

Animals, like people, have unique sounds that allow them to recognize individuals. For example, you can hear a great spotted woodpecker calling in the first portion of this YouTube video below. In another YouTube video, we see a great spotted woodpecker doing what woodpeckers do best…pecking at wood. Woodpeckers peck (i.e. drum) to ward off rivals as well as attract mates. In a new study published in PLoS ONE, researchers examined […]

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Monogamy is good for the heart

In honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). These animals are often used to study pair bonding because they are one of only a handful of mammalian species that form lifelong socially monogamous pair bonds after mating and cohabitating for at least 6 hours. According to a study published several years ago in Nature Neuroscience, this pair bonding behavior is regulated by specific genes in their […]

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Could research on fruit flies improve human sleep?

A new study conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s in collaboration with Kyoto University has provided evidence that drosophila and mammals have similar proteins in their brain that help regulate the rhythm of body temperatures that are important in normal metabolism as well as sleep. According to a quote from Dr. Fumika Hamada, a lead study author, “We’re looking for a mechanistic understanding of how body temperature rhythms are regulated. […]

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