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Today’s news: apes laugh with you, self-conscious dogs and migrations threatened

March 7, 2011

Here are some fascinating articles that the humans (and animals ) at Current Instincts are reading today. Did we miss something major? Let us know below or send us an email.

1. Laugh and apes laugh with you. You know when you laugh at someone’s joke just to be polite? Apparently, apes do that too, and for the same reasons we do — to strengthen their friendships. This behavior proves that social bonds between apes are far more complex than scientists once thought. (Physorg)

I'm flyyyyyying.

2. Dolphin, manatee deaths baffle scientists. A near-record number of manatees have died in Florida waters this year, leaving scientists guessing the cause of death. In addition, scientists are puzzled by the large die-offs of dolphins in the Gulf. This is the second year in a row that manatees have been dying in higher-than-usual numbers. (Discovery News)

3. Captive orangutans in Indonesia may be freed. Hundreds of baby orangutan orphans may finally be released back into the wild. A new, protected area of land will be a safe place for these babies to run free. Indonesia is having a huge problem with deforestation which is leaving orangutans with less area to roam. (MSNBC)

4. Are dogs self-conscious? Humans, chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins, magpies can all recognize themselves in the mirror which proves a high level of self-awareness. But can dogs? Kind of. While they can’t recognize themselves in the mirror, they can recognize their own pee. That’s gross and weird, especially because to conduct the study this dude picked up pee from random dogs. (NPR)

5. Agribusiness boom in Africa threatens wildlife migration. A new plan to build enormous farms in designated national parks on the border of South Sudan could have an enormous impact on animal migration. The second largest migration in Africa travels through the area every year. The farms would drastically alter the landscape, threatening the animal’s migration path. (Yale Environment 360)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2011 12:18 am

    I’ve caught my cats looking at themselves in the mirror, and I’m convinced they recognize themselves. If they thought it was another cat, they’d attack. I’m sure dogs have the same ability.

    • March 8, 2011 10:33 am

      Maybe Richter’s just dumb. He never seems to recognize himself. But when he looks out the window he FLIPS OUT if he sees another cat. So I guess he understands cats, but not that he himself is a cat.

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