Animal Cognition

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  • David A. Steen
    Herptile Expert David Steen
    Posted in: Interviews, Reptiles

    Dr. David Steen is a wildlife ecologist at Auburn University whose specialty lies in studying reptiles and amphibians, a group collectively known as herptiles. One of Dr. Steen’s recent claims to fame is successfully giving CPR to a drowned turtle! His research focuses on how herptiles interact with their environments, and how […]

  • Gibbonese Features Many Words
    Posted in: Mammals

    Is language only used by humans? Most linguists would say “yes”, especially given the complexity of human language. However, research is uncovering that many animals have far more sophisticated communication protocols than thus far assumed. Now, a newly published study shows that gibbons too have their own […]

  • yawns contagious in dogs
    Human Yawns are Contagious in Dogs Too
    Posted in: Mammals

    If you have a dog you probably know that dogs yawn now and then. But did you ever notice that they yawn as a response to your yawning? In humans this phenomenon is well known as “contagious yawning”, but recent research indicates that even dogs can “catch” human yawns. In 2008, Joly-Mascheroni et al. conducted […]

  • Tortoises Can Master Mazes
    Posted in: Reptiles

    Tortoises may be slow in a race, but not when it comes to thinking. “Generally people see reptiles as inert, stupid and unresponsive, I would like people to see that there is something much more complex going on.”1 says Dr. Anna Wilkinson, the University of Lincoln’s senior lecturer of animal cognition, and lead researcher of several [..]

  • Crows Crack 8-Level Conundrums
    Posted in: Birds

    Crows have become rather famous for their cleverness. They have been observed using and making a variety of tools,1 and also seem to be able to understand the basic concept of cause and effect.2 Dr. Alex Taylor specializes in corvid cognition, and is researching the problem solving abilities of New Caledonian crows. In one of […]

  • Hermit Crabs: Conga Line Cooperation
    Posted in: Invertebrates

    Trying to find a suitable home can be a battle, especially if you’re a hermit crab. These crabs have soft, vulnerable abdomens that they need to keep protected at all times by wearing abandoned snail shells. But as the crabs grow, they can find themselves living in cramped quarters. Once they’ve outgrown their shells, they need […]

  • cambridge declaration on consciousness
    The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness
    Posted in: General, Main

    On the 7th of July, 2012, a group of scientists released the “Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness”. The statement puts forth the case that many animals are conscious, even if in different degrees and qualities than humans. There is enough evidence to render untenable Descartes’ conception of animals as automatons without any inner life. […]

  • Asian Elephants Recognize Their Reflections
    Posted in: Mammals

    Think Elephants International1 recently launched “Oh, Behave!”, a video series that features research on the behavior and cognition of elephants, as well as other members of the animal kingdom. Check out one of these videos below to learn about how Asian elephants can recognize themselves in mirrors. Also, be on the […]

  • Studying Dog Brains with MRIs
    Posted in: Mammals

    MRI machines are extraordinary tools for studying brains, but they aren’t often used on animals unless they are sedated. Why? Because keeping them still often proves to be quite a challenge! Fortunately though, scientists from Emory University were able to train a group of dogs to lie still long enough to successfully perform MRI scans. […]

  • Horses Comprehend Human Gestures
    Posted in: Mammals

    For many people, horses are rarely the first animal they think of when it comes to intelligence. Their capacity to learn is something that has been particularly passed over, likely because much of the behavior they learn from humans has long been expected. For example, we tend to see a horse that is able to […]

  • Parrots big brains
    Social Complexity Gives Parrots Big Brains
    Posted in: Birds

    Parrots have rather large brains. In fact, relative to their body weight, their brain size-to-body size ratio is about the same as advanced primates like chimpanzees and orangutans. “Humans have these really big brains, but guess what, parrots have really big brains too. In fact, if you overlay a graph of brain size to body […]

Popular Articles

Elephant looking in mirror
List of Animals That Have Passed the Mirror Test
Posted in: General, Main

The mirror test was developed by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr.1 in 1970 as a method for determining whether a non-human animal has the ability of self-recognition. It’s also known as the “mark test” or “mirror self-recognition test” (MSR). When conducting the mirror test, scientists place a visual marking on an animal’s body, usually with scentless paints, […]

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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 […]

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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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