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?

Is your dog happy? Ten common misconceptions about dog behaviour

Dick – image edited by Fernando Kaskais  Authors Paul McGreevy Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney Melissa Starling Postdoctoral researcher, University of Sydney Disclosure statement Paul McGreevy is the co-author of Making Dogs Happy. Melissa Starling is the co-author of Making Dogs Happy. It is difficult to refer to what dogs, as a collective, like and dislike and how they behave. Just as humans do, dogs all have their own personalities and learned preferences and so can differ dramatically in how they approach life and what they take from it. In our book, Making Dogs … Continue reading Is your dog happy? Ten common misconceptions about dog behaviour

Do Cancer-Sniffing Canines Pass the Smell Test?

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY SARAH ROGERS/THE DAILY BEAST Despite skepticism, researchers remain doggedly determined to nosing out disease. by ROBIN ROBERT Since 2011, Quebec-based CancerDogs has been using four beagles to identify cancer in breath samples from over 30,000 firefighters in 100 U.S. fire departments. Their accuracy rate is remarkable—the dogs are able to identify cancer over 95 percent of the time. They’re not the only ones. Another program, the University of Pennsylvania’sPenn Vet Working Dog Center, has employed three dogs since 2013 to sniff out ovarian cancer from blood samples with 90 percent accuracy. Before suspending their three-year-old program last year, Calgary’s Clever Caninespinpointed … Continue reading Do Cancer-Sniffing Canines Pass the Smell Test?

Are Cities Making Animals Smarter?

Vidhya Nagarajan A mysterious wild cat in Sri Lanka may hold a clue. by PAUL BISCEGLIO The goldfish were the first to vanish. Every so often, a few would go missing overnight from the office’s tiny outdoor pond. But goldfish were cheap, so no one in the building—an environmental nonprofit in the bustling, sweaty center of Colombo, Sri Lanka—bothered investigating. Then the dragon koi began to disappear. Lustrous and ethereal, each of these whiskered Japanese carp cost around 10,000 Sri Lankan rupees, or $65. In a fit of extravagance, the building’s landlord had bought 10. Soon, he had seven. Then three. … Continue reading Are Cities Making Animals Smarter?

Elephants Have a Secret Weapon Against Cancer

Two baby elephants.RADU SIGHETI / REUTERS The biggest animals should have the highest risks of developing tumors, but they don’t. by ED YONG In 2012, on a whim, Vincent Lynch decided to search the genome of the African elephant to see if it had extra anti-cancer genes. Cancers happen when cells build up mutations in their DNA that allow them to grow and divide uncontrollably. Bigger animals, whose bodies comprise more cells, should therefore have a higher risk of cancer. This is true within species: On average, taller humans are more likely to develop tumors than shorter ones, and bigger … Continue reading Elephants Have a Secret Weapon Against Cancer

Giants of the Deep

LILY PADULA How technology has changed the way we look at whales—and ourselves REBECCA GIGGS Had you been alive in the early 19th century and in want of a sea monster, you might have summoned one via the apparatus of a dead whale. Take a colossal rib, a narwhal’s spiral tusk, a gray whale’s eyeballs, bristles of baleen stripped from a humpback’s jaw or armfuls of its spooling tongue—how disquieting these discards from the whaling industry must have appeared to those who had never seen a whale whole, in the flesh. Scraps retrieved from the decks of harpoon ships, or sold by … Continue reading Giants of the Deep

How one fence ruined an eco-system

Dingo of Fraser Island c/o Newretreads (Creative Commons)  by DEREK BERES California is not waiting for climate change. State agencies recognize it’s already here and are preparing to combat a drier and, oddly, dependent upon the year, wetter future. That means more droughts and, when the dry spell breaks, much more flooding. Given the state’s role in national agriculture, this seesawing is a recipe for disaster that needs to be addressed now. River Partners is one organization partnering with the state in preparation for this future. They’ve been buying land across California, especially in the flood-prone Central Valley, in order to … Continue reading How one fence ruined an eco-system