From a young age, human children learn that a rattle won’t make a noise until it’s shaken, and that placing fingers on a hot stove is a terrible idea. New research suggests that wolves, like humans, have a knack for identifying these kinds of cause-and-effect relationships, but that domesticated dogs do not. This…
Regrettably, none of us will get to be cats. Most of us will never write a published physics paper either, let alone a highly respected one. But somehow, in the 1970s, a phenomenal feline named Chester managed to do all of this under the tutelage of his human, physicist Jack H. Hetherington. He even had a pawesome pen…
Birds are incredible, beautiful creatures from afar. They have lots of colors, they have beaks, they can fly, and all that other neat birdy stuff. Up close, they are horrible, smelly dinosaurs with sharp claws who squawk and could attack at any moment.
Migratory birds can glide over very long distances with minimal wing-flapping, thanks to their strategic use of rising warm air currents. A new study has found that the birds use two basic sensory cues, combined with reinforcement learning algorithms (RLA), to navigate this turbulent environment.
Every doting cat owner will attest to the innate intelligence of their beloved pet, and now Japanese scientists say they have evidence that felines have a rudimentary grasp of cause and effect. They described their results in a new paper in Animal Cognition.
Cats seem pretty apathetic about a lot of things. You might think music is one of them. But according to a new study, it's not that cats don't care about music – it's that they don't care about YOUR music. So what kind of music do cats appreciate? We're so glad you asked.
More than fifty years ago, humans were pretty well convinced that they were special, different from the rest of the animal kingdom. That all changed in 1964 when Jane Goodall reported her observations of tool use in chimpanzees. Now we have evidence that Goffin's cockatoos, parrots that don't use tools in the wild,…
Despite the wide variety of species that have complex social structures – elephants, monkeys, chimps, dolphins, giraffes, wolves, corvids, and lots more – many have argued that jealousy requires a sophisticated understanding of the self and of other's social goals and desires.
It's hard to study intelligence in humans — our cultures are incredibly complex, and what counts as "smart" is defined as much by our societies as it is by our genes. So some researchers have turned to chimpanzees to understand what actually gives rise to intelligence in the brain.
To look for aliens, most people peer towards the sky. But if you look down, you'll discover they already live among us. These aliens have brains, like we do, but they're mostly inside their arms, and each arm acts as if it has a mind of its own.
There are many things that make the octopus a strange creature, but one of them is that each of its eight arms has an essentially infinite number of positions, and yet each arm operates independently. How does an octopus keep from tying itself in knots?
Fork-tailed drongos are among the most clever of liars in the animal kingdom, deceiving other animals in order to steal their food. The avian thieves have discovered a way to keep their targets in the dark. They do it by using lots of different kinds of lies.
When you think of Atlantic cod, you probably think of a strip of fish, battered and fried. But new research suggests that the fish might be able to use tools, and that might cause us to rethink how we evaluate tool use in other animals.
Humans, chimps and other primates have all been shown to be susceptible to contagious yawning. Previous research has suggested that dogs are, too, unless — according to newly published findings — that dog is a puppy younger than seven months.
The fact that the future exists is second nature to us, but few animals share our awareness of events yet to happen. So let's meet the tayra, the first animal outside primates and birds to plan for the future.
Personality might seem like it's something you can only have if you've got complex, human-like intelligence, but that isn't necessarily the case. In fact, the brainless sea creature Actinia equina reveal distinct personalities in how they respond to threats.