Category Archives: animal behavior

Two babies playing – one is human

By Matthew Cobb Now this looks to me as though the baby gorilla is playing peekaboo. Any hard-noses out there want to come up with a different interpretation? Video filmed in the Columbus Zoo. h/t Ziya Tong  

Decoy calls unexpectedly change a frog’s mate preference

Behavioral work on many animals, ranging from insects to mammals, has shown that females prefer a certain type of male call: perhaps one that is longer, louder, or has certain combinations of sounds. We’re not sure why these preferences have evolved, though there are many theories. Those include hypotheses that males with, say, louder calls are healthier, and […]

I saved two lives!

Yes, they were the lives of crayfish, but who’s to say they don’t value their existence as much as we do ours? As I walked out of the building today, and past the big pond, I came upon two crayfish on the sidewalk. When I approached them, they made cool threat displays like the one below, […]

Matthew Cobb answers questions about evolution and animal sniffers

Manchester Life Sciences has posted a new YouTube video in its “Ask a Scientist” series, and the scientist to ask happens to be our own Matthew Cobb. In this 15-minute video he takes on six questions about evolution and about his own speciality: olfaction. It’s very interesting: click on either screenshot below to go to the video: Our hero! […]

Gruesome but amazing falcon behaviour

JAC: In lieu of our usual dollop of living creatures in “Readers’ wildlife photographs,” I’ll post this contribution by Matthew. by Matthew Cobb Eleonora’s falcon (Falco eleonorae) is a kind of hobby with a wingspan of about 1 meter which breeds on Mediterranean islands and overwinters in Madagascar. It’s a rather fine-looking bird, as this […]

Afternoon badinage: “Hey, doc, warm that thing up first!”

A tw**t from SciencePorn. I’ll lay odds that at least one reader will claim it’s a fake shot. h/t: John W.  

Why do animal species vary so much in the shape of pupils in their eyes?

Here’s a picture of some animal pupils from National Public Radio. The website showed them because they’re the subject of a new paper by M. S. Banks et al. in Sciences Advances (reference below; free download). The paper asks an interesting question: why do the pupils of vertebrate species vary so widely in shape? (Supplementary material, […]

NSFW? – katydid pre-mating sperm removal

by Matthew Cobb This neat video by Ralf Jochmann, with commentary, shows katydids (or bush crickets, if you prefer) mating and above all, shows the male using his bits to remove sperm from previous males from the female. These scenes are rather detailed, so you might find them icky, or your colleagues might find you […]

Dances with Seagulls

Did this guy teach a seagull to dance, or did this seagull teach a guy to give him food? The story is over here.     The little pattering feet are immensely cute, but personally I think the seagull isn’t so much dancing as saying, “Get on with it! Food! Me!”   Then again, the […]

So what killed the ‘squirrel’ being eaten by the four-legged snake?

by Greg Mayer As the capstone to Snake Week, let’s take a closer look at how the squirrel-like mammal being eaten by Tetrapodophis in Julius Csotonyi’s striking reconstruction died. In my earlier post, I took note of the fact that the describers of the newly discovered four-legged fossil snake had inferred from its skeleton that […]


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