Bee-brained

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) in the hive, Würzburg, Germany. Photo by Mark Moffatt/Minden/National Geographic Are insects ‘philosophical zombies’ with no inner life? Close attention to their behaviours and moods suggests otherwise Lars Chittka is professor of sensory and behavioural ecology at Queen Mary, University of London, and has been a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study (WIKO) in Berlin. His book The Mind of the Bee (2019) is forthcoming with Princeton University Press. Catherine Wilson was most recently Anniversary Professor of philosophy at the University of York and is now Visiting Presidential Professor at CUNY Graduate Center. She was a fellow of the Institute of … Continue reading Bee-brained

Rolling Under the Sea: Scientists Gave Octopuses Ecstasy to Study Social Behavior  

Two-spot octopus.  Credit: Mark Conlin Getty Images Cephalopods on the recreational drug behave much like humans do, even touching and hugging their peers By Rachel Nuwer | Scientific American  Several octopuses might have recently become the happiest individuals in their species’ history when researchers gave them MDMA—the party drug often called Molly or Ecstasy. This may sound like a contender for an “Ig Nobel Prize,” but the scientists behind the study, published in October in Current Biology, say tripping cephalopods can help us better understand the roots of sociability throughout the animal kingdom—including in people. “As human beings, we like to know where we came … Continue reading Rolling Under the Sea: Scientists Gave Octopuses Ecstasy to Study Social Behavior  

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A GUY WHO’S PETRIFIED OF DOGS

by Hussein Kesvani It’s not just me — one guy lost the love of his life to avoid living with man’s best friend This week, as I made my way to work, a terrifying creature confronted me. In the hall between the building entrance and the door to my office, it stood menacingly, staring me down while showing off its sharp teeth. Despite it being winter in the U.K., drops of sweat ran down my face as I waited for the beast to come for me. “Archie! Archie boy!” a voice shouted from atop the stairs. The demon — a … Continue reading WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A GUY WHO’S PETRIFIED OF DOGS

How to Be a Good Creature: Naturalist Sy Montgomery on What 13 Animals Taught Her About Otherness, Love, and the Heart of Our Humanity

Illustration by Rebecca Green from How to Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery. “Our world, and the worlds around and within it, is aflame with shades of brilliance we cannot fathom — and is far more vibrant, far more holy, than we could ever imagine.” BY MARIA POPOVA “To be a good human being,” philosopher Martha Nussbaum observed, “is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control” — to have, that is, a willingness to regard with an openhearted curiosity what is other than ourselves and therefore strange, discomfiting, difficult to fathom and relate to, difficult … Continue reading How to Be a Good Creature: Naturalist Sy Montgomery on What 13 Animals Taught Her About Otherness, Love, and the Heart of Our Humanity

The elephant as a person

Photo by Robert Postma/Design Pics/National Geographic Elephants might have the necessary capacities for personhood – we just need to help them acquire the cognitive scaffolding by Don Ross is professor of philosophy at University College Cork, professor of economics at the University of Cape Town, and programme director for methodology at the Center for Economic Analysis of Risk, Georgia State University. He is the co-editor of the The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics (2009) and the author of several books, including Economic Theory and Cognitive Science: Microexplanation (2005). He lives in Ireland and South Africa. Edited by Sally Davies Have you ever stood in a … Continue reading The elephant as a person

The Cultural Convictions That Land Some Animals on the Menu

CHRIS KEANE / REUTERS … and keep others off of it by NICOLA TWILLEY, CYNTHIA GRABER and GASTROPOD In the West, when it comes to which meat is for dinner, we nearly always choose beef, pork, or chicken. Yet cows and pigs are only two of more than 5,000 species of mammals, and chicken is one of nearly 10,000 species of birds. Meanwhile, at different times in history and in different places around the world, people have enjoyed dining on all sorts of animals, from elephants to flamingos to jellyfish. So how do individuals and cultures decide which animals to eat, and which they don’t? And … Continue reading The Cultural Convictions That Land Some Animals on the Menu

Do Dogs Forget Their People?

Illustration: Chelsea Beck (Gizmodo) by Daniel Kolitz Let’s say your long-term relationship totally implodes. Browsing for a new apartment, or a therapist that takes your insurance, you hear your dog bark in the other room—and realize, with a start, that it’s not actually your dog. Once you’re all moved out, the dog will be out of your life, too. Stewing in self-pity you think—and subsequently become convinced—that this dog, who you’ve fed and bathed who knows how many times, and coined several adorable nicknames for, will forget you ever existed by the start of next spring. Probably, for your own health, … Continue reading Do Dogs Forget Their People?