Animal Cognition

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  • Bonobo Female Coalition Brutality
    Bonobos Make Love AND War
    Posted in: Mammals

    There is a common misconception that bonobos never fight; if tensions are running high, they have sex or rub their genitals together and everything’s just peachy. But bonobos do fight and they do form coalitions to support one another in aggressive interactions. By only looking to chimpanzees for understanding human aggression, we may be missing […]

  • Horse communication with humans
    Horse Communication with Humans
    Posted in: Mammals

    When asked to think about how horses and humans communicate with each other, most people would likely conjure up the classic image of a rider on horseback, steering with reins and giving a kick to signal “Go!”. In this picture, the human is the communicator, the horse the receiver. The animal is expected to obey […]

  • pheasant cognition & personality
    Bird-Brained Behaviour: Pheasant Cognition
    Posted in: Birds

    Dr. Joah Madden studies pheasants, a type of bird frequently seen in the British countryside. How many of us have driven down a country lane with one of them zig-zagging a few feet in front of the car’s wheels for what feels like miles? We bellow “Look, there’s a gap in the hedge there! It’s […]

  • altruism in chimpanzees
    Altruism in Chimpanzees
    Posted in: Main, Mammals

    In 2005, Drs. Felix Warnecken and Michael Tomasello conducted a study on altruism in human infants and chimpanzees.1 Altruism is taking action to help someone else, even when that action won’t be reciprocated or otherwise benefit oneself. To put it simply, altruistic actions are motivated purely by the desire to help another. Altruistic behaviour arises early in human development: In […]

  • Cute raccoon
    How Environment Influences Animal Intelligence
    Posted in: Main

    Depending on the characteristics of the environment it lives in, an animal species may develop a wide range of physical adaptations to help it survive there. But mental adaptations can occur as well, sometimes sparking the development of impressive cognitive abilities. Tougher environments seem to spur the need for innovation and quick problem-solving.1 With hardships ranging […]

  • Malinois Dog Running Through Water
    How Dogs Perceive Human Faces
    Posted in: Mammals

    When you have dogs, it’s easy to see that human faces are important to them. Surely, you’ve probably noticed the countless times in a day that your dog looks at your face: in the park, on the couch, when you are playing together. It’s very likely that dogs are the ultimate “human-stalker”, as they can […]

  • primate personalities
    Primate Personalities
    Posted in: Mammals

    People who keep animals as pets will often talk about their pet’s personality – identifiable traits that appear to be displayed in a consistent manner across contexts and time. Although it was once considered anthropomorphic to talk about nonhuman animals as having a ‘personality’, today, studies dispute this view, with many researchers […]

  • Black Dog
    Dogs Recognize Human Emotions
    Posted in: Mammals

    Many dog owners can attest that their dogs appear to be “in tune” with their emotions, seeming to intuitively “know” when the owners are feeling depressed or irritable. While in the past plenty of people may have been quick to write this off as anthropomorphism, two recently published studies support the conclusion that it’s true: dogs […]

  • Rattlesnake Close Up
    Snake Researcher Melissa Amarello
    Posted in: Interviews, Reptiles

    Melissa Amarello is one of the founders of Advocates for Snake Preservation, an organization committed to improving human tolerance of snakes and our peaceful coexistence with them. She studies their unique behaviors and mysterious social lives. Q: Your research focuses on the social behaviors of snakes. Few […]

  • Spear-Hunting Chimps
    Spear-Hunting Chimps
    Posted in: Mammals

    Fashioning spears and wielding them to hunt – these sound like typical activities of our human ancestors. But the surprising fact is that not only are tool-use and tool-building carried out by other animal species, they’re done in the context of hunting as well. Chimpanzees in the Fongoli savanna of Senegal have been observed1 creating spears out of sticks, using an up […]

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Horse communication with humans
Horse Communication with Humans
Posted in: Mammals

When asked to think about how horses and humans communicate with each other, most people would likely conjure up the classic image of a rider on horseback, steering with reins and giving a kick to signal “Go!”. In this picture, the human is the communicator, the horse the receiver. The animal is expected to obey […]

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Animal Cognition (.org) explores and covers research on the mental capacities of animals: how animals think, solve problems, understand concepts, communicate, and empathize.

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