Category Archives: animal behavior

First observation of wild pigs using tools

A recent paper from Mammalian Biology (behind a paywall) details the first occurrence of tool-using in pigs (click on screenshot to see a bit of the paper). These aren’t domestic pigs, mind you, but the Visayan warty pig, Sus cebifrons, a critically endangered species endemic to three islands in the Philippines. Here’s the bristly beast under […]

Fossilized trilobites preserved parading in line. But why did they do this?

A new paper in Nature by Jean Vannier et al. reports the unusual finding of a parade of trilobites—a group of the ancient arthropods—apparently killed and fossilized while walking in tandem, like an invertebrate conga line. They’re 480 million years old, from the Lower Ordovician, and were found in Morocco. (The paper can be seen […]

Gay penguins? Not so fast.

Two male King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) at the Berlin Zoo have adopted an egg rejected by a female penguin, and the world has gone crazy. Why? Well, for one reason, it’s because Skip and Ping are perceived as “gay penguins”, since they’re a same-sex couple. Here’s the New York Times article about it: The story […]

Weddell seal chews breathing hole in the ice

As I mentioned earlier, I’m preparing a set of talks for an upcoming voyage to Antarctica on which I’m a guest lecturer. One of them, which I posted on before, is about the science done by the Scott Expedition to the South Pole. It turns out that at least two of the group’s aims had […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Thanks to the readers who have sent me photos in response to my plea. I still need other ones, though, so send in your good photos—and thanks! Today’s photos come from Mark Sturtevant, who says, “The pictures tell a story that is only a tiny bit sad.” His narrative is indented:  I have always been […]

A stink eye will prevent gulls from stealing your food

Here’s an interesting result: gulls will not steal your food while you’re looking at them, but if you look away, even if the food is close to you, many of them try to nab it. This is SCIENCE, and is described in the following news report in Science and the original paper on which the […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

UPDATE: Kit sent in some Facebook videos for your further edification: Kit introduces you to a female Amegilla dawsoni Kit introducing a “minor” male Amegilla dawsoni Kit introducing a “major” male Amegilla dawsoni. ______________________ Reader Kit Prendergast, a bee researcher from Australia. sent me some nice bee photos and a teaser: I didn’t know why […]

A caterpillar changes color to match its background using “extraocular photoreception”: it can see with its skin!

Many of you have heard of the famous peppered moth Biston betularia, a paradigmatic case of evolution by natural selection. (The normally inconspicuous white, speckled moth evolved a cryptic black coloration when smog blackened tree trunks in industrial England; and the same thing happened in the United States. When anti-pollution laws were enacted in both […]

Bat squeaks while being petted

I’m out and about, so enjoy this photo of a young flying fox, rescued in a sanctuary, from Hi! Homer. The notes: Meet Jeddah, a Grey-Headed Flying Fox currently being hand-raised by the Homer’s Heroes at Sydney Wildlife.  Jeddah was rescued with injuries so severe he couldn’t survive on his own.  But, as this video clearly shows (just look […]

Puffin videos: A puffling sees the world for the first time, and a tourist befriends a puffin

In line with Bruce Lyons’s post this morning on puffins, I’ll put up two Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) videos. In the first one, a fluffy “puffling”, or young puffin—the second bird extracted from the burrow—encounters the world for the first time. I think this is on the UK’s Farallon Islands, though I can’t quite make […]