Science in the news
August 3, 2010
I think this is fascinating: “Animal connection” helps separate humans from other species.
Among nonhumans, there are very few instances in which a member of one species has been observed adopting the young of another species, a behavior scientists call “cross-species alloparenting.” Most reports of this type of adoption are the result of human involvement; cross-species alloparenting occurs incredibly rarely in the wild but instances have occasionally been observed, such as a female capuchin monkey nursing a young marmoset.
The study argues that this trait is rarer than tool use, symbolic behavior, or domestication, the other traits typically used to distinguish humans from other species, and that it might precede and underlie them. Of course, those of us who believe in scripture might also remember that we were given dominion over these creatures (which is not at all the same as saying they’re there for us to exploit) and that understanding them might help us fulfill that responsibility.
Now, on the lighter side: Women, gorillas likelier to have sex with men wearing red. I just cracked up when I read this:
The authors don’t say exactly how they know that lady monkeys instinctively want to get with men in power ties: no doubt the experiments were highly scientific.
Japanese macaques will completely flip out when presented with flying squirrels, a new study in monkey-antagonism has found. The research could pave the way for advanced methods of enraging monkeys.
I’m sure glad someone is working on advanced methods of enraging monkeys.