World’s Strangest

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The Secret to Classic Children’s Books

What do Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, and Shel Silverstein have in common? Yes, they all wrote bestselling children’s stories and they all have new books coming out soon, but the secret to their success is that their writing was once considered inappropriate for children! Once upon a more staid time, the purpose of children’s books was [...]

Dolphin Conch Fishing

Researchers from Murdoch University have been watching bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia develop an ingenious way to fish. First witnessed by researchers in 2007, a dolphin will use a conch shell to trap and scoop up fish. The dolphin will then proceed to pour the fishies into its mouth as if they were the [...]

Sea Anemones Have Personalities

Sea anemones may look like lumps of gelatinous blobs to you and me, but they’ve actually got lots of personalities. Scientists from the University of Plymouth, UK, discovered that they behave differently (and consistently) to stimulus: Animals are considered to have personalities when individuals show consistent differences in behavior across time or situations. In a [...]

How to Train Your Goldfish

Col. Konrad Most, one of the pioneers of modern animal training, began training service dogs while serving in the Royal Prussian Police in 1906. His book on the subject, Training Dogs, described many of the basic elements of operant conditioning—including reinforcement, extinction, and shaping—that American behaviorist B.F. Skinner would later popularize. If Most were alive [...]

What’s Really Happening in the Kitten Hugging Video?

The one minute video from last week we called In Mommy’s Arms has been watched 18 million times on YouTube! Most folks thought it was adorable, while a few warned us not to anthropomorphize animals. National Geographic asked Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the animal behavior clinic at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, whether [...]

Is Your Dog an Optimist or a Pessimist?

There are happy dogs that expect a good thing to happen, and then there are others who seem to have a case of the gloomies. Dogs can be classified as optimists or pessimists the same as humans, according to research from a team led by Michael Mendl. Mendl, who is head of the Animal Welfare and [...]

Algae and Light Help Injured Mice Walk Again

Scientists are working on unconventional methods for controlling neurons in the brain. In one such experiment, a mouse’s behavior was controlled by shining a light directly on its brain! But this was no ordinary brain -the mouse had DNA from algae inserted into its neurons, which made them responsive to light. The crucial part of [...]

Why We Blush: An Evolutionary Explanation

Jesse Bering writes in Scientific American that blushing may have evolved in the human race as a means of ameliorating conflict. By reducing the possibility of deception, it encouraged socially constructive behavior among early humans: Given the possibility of being deceived, it would have been rather foolish of our ancestors to take at face value a [...]

Why do we cry?

Research into the subject of why humans cry (and animals don’t) has produced several theories. Some say it’s to shed harmful chemicals from the body. Others theorize that crying is a holdover from the way infants communicate needs. And some have said that the process just makes us feel better. Now we have a new [...]