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Despite what you might think, chickens are not stupid

Posted on 11 Jan 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Journalism

It is also common for people to view chickens as unintelligent animals that lack the complex psychological characteristics of “higher” animals like monkeys and apes. This is a view reinforced by some depictions of chickens in popular culture. But chickens are anything but dumb. Image: Hopkinsii

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Baboons recorded making key sounds found in human speech

Posted on 11 Jan 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

Baboon grunts and barks have more in common with human speech than we thought. The monkeys routinely produce five of the distinct vowel sounds found in our languages. Image: Derek Keats

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Watch cockatoo genius chew out a tool from a piece of cardboard

Posted on 15 Nov 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Journalism

It’s toolmaking with intent. Goffin’s cockatoos in the lab use their beaks to carefully cut out a tool from a sheet of cardboard before using it to retrieve an out-of-reach nut. Image: siestakeysunset

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Why cities are unleashing birds of prey into their skies

Posted on 4 Oct 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Environment, Journalism

While political hawks and doves clash inside the Palace of Westminster, real hawks patrol the skies above the famous buildings to control the population of feral pigeons – which, despite the name, are actually a kind of dove. Falconry is a hugely popular pest control measure. But is it effective? Image: left-hand

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How some animals accelerate faster than all others

Posted on 19 Sep 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

The smashing mantis shrimp predatory attacks are so fast, and so brief, that their exact speed went unappreciated by scientists until about 15 years ago. And what does the mantis shrimp do with its astonishingly quick weapons? It uses them to attack an animal virtually synonymous with sluggishness: a snail. Image: Christian Gloor (mostly) underwater photographer

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Tap-dancing songbirds drum with their feet to attract mates

Posted on 19 Sep 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Journalism

It is not just about speed. The only songbird known to perform a rapid tap dance during courtship makes more noise with its feet during its routines than at other times. Image: acornjfl

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