Why Whale Songs Are Still One Of Science's Greatest Mysteries

Humpback whales are renowned for their ability to produce songs of remarkable beauty, complexity, and duration. But despite decades of research, scientists still aren't sure why these whales engage in such elaborate acoustic displays. Here's what we know — and have yet to learn — about the humpback whale's song. » 3/19/15 11:40am 3/19/15 11:40am

Cockroaches Have Personalities, Too

Unlike ants and termites, individual cockroaches exhibit dynamic character traits, such as bravery and sociability. This may explain why cockroaches are such excellent survivors, capable of adapting to inhospitable and often unpredictable environments. » 3/10/15 2:50pm 3/10/15 2:50pm

All These Gifts Were Given To An 8-Year-Old Girl By Crows

Since the age of four, Gabi Mann of Seattle has forged a relationship with the neighborhood crows by offering them food. Then suddenly something unexpected happened — the crows, in an apparent act of reciprocation, started to present various trinkets to Gabi in return. » 2/27/15 8:40am 2/27/15 8:40am

Why The Human Brain Isn't As Special As We Think It Is

The human brain is special. Just not that special. To understand animal minds, and our own place in the living world, we should remove ourselves from centre stage. » 2/10/15 8:40am 2/10/15 8:40am

Chimps Change Their "Words" To Communicate Better With New Companions

Referred to as "referential calls," chimps use different grunts to identify objects. A new study provides the first evidence for vocal learning in non-humans, showing that chimps have the capacity for not just words — but also the ability to adapt to a new vernacular. » 2/06/15 12:40pm 2/06/15 12:40pm

How Dogs "See" The World Using Their Powerful Sense Of Smell

The visual acuity of our canine companions is about 20-40% as good as ours. But the average dog's nose is 10,000 times more sensitive to odors than the human nose. As this fascinating TED-Ed video shows, they don't so much see the world as they smell it. » 2/02/15 3:20pm 2/02/15 3:20pm

Why An Appeals Court Was Wrong To Say This Chimp Isn't A Person

Yesterday, a New York appeals court rejected a lawsuit filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project seeking legal rights for Tommy, a 26-year-old chimp kept alone in a warehouse. Here's why the judges were wrong — and why that's actually good news in the struggle to recognize nonhuman animal personhood. » 12/05/14 9:20am 12/05/14 9:20am

Dogs And Humans Process Speech In Remarkably Similar Ways

In what will come as a surprise to virtually nobody, a new brain study shows that dogs don't just respond to our words, they also respond to how we say them. It's a finding that suggests dogs evolved their keen listening skills as a result of domestication. » 11/26/14 9:40am 11/26/14 9:40am

Terrifyingly Brilliant Spider Creates Stunningly Advanced Web

A European garden spider recently stumbled upon a rather amazing solution to a serious problem. It wanted to weave its web across the top of a garage, but the angle of the roof was too shallow for anchoring. So it did what any industrious spider would do — it suspended a rock to anchor the bottom of the web. » 10/07/14 8:40am 10/07/14 8:40am

Scientists Watch How New Technologies Spread Among Wild Chimps

For the first time ever, scientists have witnessed the acquisition and spread of a new behavior — two new feeding methods — among wild chimpanzees. It's an 'extraordinarily rare' observation that points to the origins of social learning in both chimps and humans. » 10/01/14 12:40pm 10/01/14 12:40pm

There's More To Primate Dominance Than Strength And Aggression

A new study suggests that the brains of primates are different depending on their status as leaders or followers. But are these 'specialized brains' the result of genetics or an adaptation to the individual's role in life? » 9/03/14 1:00pm 9/03/14 1:00pm

People Think Their Dogs Are A Lot Smarter Than They Really Are

We love to brag about the intelligence of our canine companions. But a recent survey suggests that many of us are grossly overestimating the cognitive capacities of our dogs — and that our emotional attachment to them has a lot to do with it. » 7/10/14 7:40am 7/10/14 7:40am

Researchers Translate the Meaning of Over 60 Gestures Used by Chimps

In the first systematic study of a non-human primate language, scientists from St. Andrew's University have deciphered the meaning of 66 wild chimpanzee sign language gestures. Ranging from flirting requests to grooming instructions, the gestures may reveal how language evolves. » 7/04/14 2:00pm 7/04/14 2:00pm

Chimps Are Surprisingly Picky When It Comes To Music

If you ever run into a group of chimpanzees in a record store, you may find them congregating around the Indian classical section. But as for Western music, not so much. So suggests a new study that considered the musical tastes of our primate cousins. » 7/01/14 4:40pm 7/01/14 4:40pm

So It Turns Out That Monkeys Are Pretty Good At Doing Math

A recently concluded experiment shows that rhesus monkeys are capable of doing simple addition using numbers 1 through 25. But more interesting than that is the observation that they also make the same mistakes as us. » 4/22/14 1:40pm 4/22/14 1:40pm

Heartbreaking Video Shows A Male Monkey Comforting His Dying Partner

Scientists working in Brazil recently witnessed a heartbreaking scene involving a female marmoset who sustained a mortal head injury after accidentally falling from a tree. They then watched in amazement as her partner of three-and-a-half years climbed down to comfort her as she lay dying. » 4/15/14 7:20am 4/15/14 7:20am

Harrowing Photos Capture Tense Encounter Between Baby Baboon And Lion

While on a game drive in northern Botswana, a married couple witnessed a dramatic scene involving a troop of baboons fleeing from a pack of lions. What they saw next was completely unexpected — and showed the surprising tenderness that can be exhibited by even the most ferocious of animals. » 4/07/14 12:25pm 4/07/14 12:25pm

Why the Brains of Dogs and Humans Are More Similar Than You Think

As any dedicated dog owner will tell you, canines often appear to grasp the emotional content of what's being said to them. An unprecedented brain scanning study now shows this is likely true — and that this capability pre-dates domestication. » 2/21/14 8:00am 2/21/14 8:00am

A New Scientific Model that Defines Alien Intelligence

Should we ever detect an extraterrestrial civilization, or any kind of alien life for that matter, it's a safe bet they'll look very different from us. They'll also probably think in a way that's completely foreign to what we're used to. Here's how experts believe we might be able to predict what the minds of aliens… » 1/28/14 11:14am 1/28/14 11:14am

Dolphins like to get high by sucking on puffer fish

Using a remote-controlled camera disguised as a sea turtle, marine biologists watched as young dolphins got themselves stoned by ingesting a nerve toxin released by puffer fish. And as if sharing a joint, the dolphins could be seen passing it around. » 12/30/13 7:30am 12/30/13 7:30am