Dog Companions

Monkeys are cute but are not domesticated animals
Dogs are domesticated and cute and our best friends.
Choose a dog every time over exotic pets and you will be happier.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

SNOWDOG

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dog Memory



AFP/Relax news

Posted: 11/25/2016 

Your Dog Can Remember What You Did, Says Study


When it comes to having a short memory and getting easily distracted, dogs often get a bad rap.

A study out Wednesday suggests their recall ability may be deeper than previously thought.

In fact, they appear to be able to remember what people did in the recent past, said the report in Current Biology.

This kind of recall is known as episodic memory -- the ability to mentally travel back in time and remember details about an event.


He knows what you did last summer. (OK, not really, but it would be cool if he did.)


It has been shown to exist in humans and primates, but never in dogs until now.

"It is not possible to simply ask them, 'Do you remember what happened this morning?'" said lead researcher Claudia Fugazza.

So she adapted a training technique she pioneered called "Do As I Do" for the study, which allows dogs to answer with their behaviour.

According to the method, dogs are trained to imitate human behaviour. A person may stand on a chair, leap in the air, or tap an umbrella.

Dogs are trained to do the same on cue, when the person says "Do it."

For this study, 17 dogs were first trained and rewarded in the method.

Then they were trained to lie down no matter what actions their human trainer did.

Suddenly, the trainer would say, "Do it," and the dogs would repeat the action they saw earlier, without reward.


 
You're just trying to make me forget that we have a vet appointment later.

Fugazza, who works with one of the largest dog research outfits in the world, known as the MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Budapest, Hungary, said the method goes beyond imitation to probe if a dog can unexpectedly remember an action from the past.

"Dogs trained with this method can imitate their owners' actions even after a delay of 24 hours," she said.

"Thus, giving dogs the 'Do it' command after a delay is in a way similar to asking them: Do you remember what your owner did?"

The result is "the first evidence of episodic-like memory of others' actions in a non-human species, and it is the first report of this type of memory in dogs," the report in Current Biology said.

Fugazza, who has also trained dolphins, orcas and parrots to mimic human behaviour, believes further study could show that this kind of memory exists in many other animals, too.

- Memory wanes -

The dogs studied included a variety of breeds and mixtures.

They were able to recall their trainer's actions one hour and up to one day later, but beyond that, their memories began to wane, the study said.

Questions about the depths of dog memory have stirred debate in the scientific community.

Some experts have said episodic memory does not exist in dogs, because canines have no sense of self and they appear to live in a kind of eternal present.

Others say evidence is mounting that dogs have episodic memories, and it makes sense because they are social animals.

"Dogs have great memories of a lot of events and this study shows that we're still learning just how good their memory really is," said Marc Bekoff, a behavioural ecologist and former researcher at the University of Colorado.

 Why did you do this to me?

"Dogs need to be able to learn and remember what their human wants them to do, and there won't always be an immediate association of the events in time," added Bekoff, who was not involved in the study.

"So, it is not surprising to me that dogs can remember the 'Do it' request after a period of time even if they weren't expecting to be asked to do something."

According to Gema Martin-Ordas, a fellow at the Newcastle University Institute of Neuroscience, the study is "interesting" but may miss some of the complexity involved in episodic memories.

"When we remember past events, we remember not only what we were doing (e.g., eating) but also where (e.g., in the kitchen), who was there (e.g., my mum) and/or when (e.g., yesterday)," she told AFP via email.

"In that regard, their study shows memories for the 'what' but I believe it is missing some of the other components."

Still, the idea is "worth exploring," she added.

"Testing whether memories keep decaying with longer intervals and whether more complex memories decay after similar retention intervals would be very interesting."




Source: 
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/11/25/dog-memory_n_13209006.html?ncid=tweetlnkcahpmg00000003



Saturday, November 26, 2016

Asian rhesus macaques thrive in Florida

Florida's 'monkey river' revealed: First study of animals finds hundreds of Asian rhesus macaques have thrived in Florida wetlands for decades
  • Researchers unsure how macaques arrived to Florida, but they've thrived
  • Despite concerns about human feedings, monkeys largely survive off land
  • The team found that concerns about health hazards are disproportionate
  • Dense cypress roots in river mostly prevent humans from coming on land 



Monkeys may not be native to central Florida, but a colony of rhesus macaques has turned these wetlands into its home.
It’s unclear how these Asian monkeys were introduced to the area, but for decades, a feral population has been spotted among the Cross Florida Greenway, raising concerns from officials about overpopulation, ecological impact, and interaction with humans.
But, a new study reveals that the macaques are mostly living off of the natural foods of their environment, and are often tactical when it comes to interacting with people.
Monkeys may not be native to central Florida, but a colony of rhesus macaques has turned these wetlands into its home. It’s unclear how these Asian monkeys were introduced to the area, but for decades, a feral population has been spotted among the Cross Florida Greenway
Monkeys may not be native to central Florida, but a colony of rhesus macaques has turned these wetlands into its home. It’s unclear how these Asian monkeys were introduced to the area, but for decades, a feral population has been spotted among the Cross Florida Greenway

THE FLORIDA MACAQUE MYSTERY 

Rhesus macaques have lived in the central Florida wetlands for decades, but no one is quite sure how they got there. 
A range of theories have attempted to trace the introduction of these rhesus macaques, from a popular (but debunked) rumour that faults the 1939 filming of Tarzan Finds a Son, to the alleged efforts of a riverboat pilot who sought to reel in tourists, unaware of the macaques’ swimming abilities.
Like their international relatives, the Florida Silver River rhesus macaques primarily eat leaves, buds, flowers, shoots and a type of dry fruit called a samara.
Their diets relied heavily upon the ash tree.
But, unique to these particular monkeys was the consumption of grass-like sprouts called sedges, which are found in wetlands.
Rhesus macaques, native to southern and southeast Asia, now live along the banks of the Silver River in Silver Springs State Park, and throughout the Cross Florida Greenway.
A 2013 census funded by the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants program set out to put an accurate estimate on the population, which has waxed and waned over its years in the region.
While earlier estimates have set the population in the thousands, the recent census by anthropologists at San Diego State University reveals the Silver Park colony to be 118 monkeys, among four separate social groups.
But, the researchers say there could be hundreds in the state overall, and officials are concerned about the impact these non-native animals could have on the ecosystem.
‘The local authorities, like the Fish and Wildlife Service, have been less thrilled with the monkeys,’ said SDSU anthropologist Erin Riley, one of the paper’s authors.
‘Their purview is to maintain a natural environment, and these animals are not natural to this area.
‘They have concerns about the local ecological impact of these, and then there are also health issues if people interface and get close to them.’
Riley and SDSU graduate student Tiffany Wade studied the interactions between humans and the monkeys in the area, to determine just how significant ‘food handouts’ were, versus how much of the diet was obtained naturally from the wetlands.
When people did give food to the monkeys, the macaques were more than happy to take it.
Earlier estimates have set the population in the thousands, but the recent census by anthropologists at San Diego State University reveals the Silver Park colony to be 118 monkeys, among four separate social groups. But, the researchers say there could be hundreds in the state overall
‘People would sometimes throw them whole oranges and you’re like, ‘Watch out, don’t nail them in the head!’ Riley said.
‘They love peanuts. Grapes also seemed to elicit what are called ‘flood calls.’ Really, they’re excited about pretty much anything you give them.’
But, the macaques didn’t just approach anybody. 
Over decades of interaction, the monkeys have worked out which types of travelers are most likely to toss them a treat, the researchers say.
Rhesus macaques, native to southern and southeast Asia, now live along the banks of the Silver River in Silver Springs State Park, and throughout the Cross Florida Greenway
Rhesus macaques, native to southern and southeast Asia, now live along the banks of the Silver River in Silver Springs State Park, and throughout the Cross Florida Greenway
Concerns from officials have been raised regarding overpopulation, ecological impact, and interaction with humans. But, a new study reveals that the macaques are mostly living off of the natural foods of their environment, and are often tactical when it comes to interacting with people
Concerns from officials have been raised regarding overpopulation, ecological impact, and interaction with humans. But, a new study reveals that the macaques are mostly living off of the natural foods of their environment, and are often tactical when it comes to interacting with people
‘They tend to ignore canoes and kayaks because people on those boats generally aren’t the ones feeding them,’ Riley said.
‘It’s the big boats, the pontoons and the motorboats, that are feeding them. 
'As soon as the monkeys hear the sounds of those boats, they come running up to the river’s edge.’
Largely, the monkeys are relying on local food, suggesting that the impact of human ‘handouts’ isn’t as severe as has been thought.
The team found that 87.5 percent of the monkeys’ diets came from the environment, and just 12.5 percent came from ‘provisioning’ from humans.
A dense concentration of cypress roots along the river banks makes exploration difficult, largely preventing disease transmission between the monkeys and humans
A dense concentration of cypress roots along the river banks makes exploration difficult, largely preventing disease transmission between the monkeys and humans
Like their international relatives, the Florida Silver River rhesus macaques primarily eat leaves, buds, flowers, shoots and a type of dry fruit called a samara. Their diets relied heavily upon the ash tree. But, unique to these particular monkeys was the consumption of grass-like sprouts called sedges, which are found in wetlands
Like their international relatives, the Florida Silver River rhesus macaques primarily eat leaves, buds, flowers, shoots and a type of dry fruit called a samara. Their diets relied heavily upon the ash tree. But, unique to these particular monkeys was the consumption of grass-like sprouts called sedges, which are found in wetlands
‘From the park’s perspective, they know that provisioning occurs, and their sense is that it’s because of this provisioning that this population persists,’ Riley said.
‘What our data show is that provisioning actually doesn’t occur that often anymore, and as a result the monkeys have learned to rely primarily on local food.’
Like their international relatives, the Florida Silver River rhesus macaques primarily ate leaves, buds, flowers, shoots and a type of dry fruit called a samara.
Their diets relied heavily upon the ash tree.
Largely, the monkeys are relying on local food, suggesting that the impact of human ‘handouts’ isn’t as severe as has been thought. The team found that 87.5 percent of the monkeys’ diets came from the environment, and just 12.5 percent came from ‘provisioning’ from humans
Largely, the monkeys are relying on local food, suggesting that the impact of human ‘handouts’ isn’t as severe as has been thought. The team found that 87.5 percent of the monkeys’ diets came from the environment, and just 12.5 percent came from ‘provisioning’ from humans
But, unique to these particular monkeys was the consumption of grass-like sprouts called sedges, which are found in wetlands.
Most interactions between people and the monkeys were harmless, and in 611 interactions observed, only two people directly handed food to the monkeys.
The team says concerns surrounding the health risks of the monkeys are ‘out of proportion,’ with reality.
A dense concentration of cypress roots along the river banks makes exploration difficult, largely preventing disease transmission between the monkeys and humans.
Moving forward, the researchers say educational material for tourists and increased patrols could facilitate safe interaction, and discourage feeding. 
Most interactions between people and the monkeys were harmless. The team says concerns surrounding the health risks of the monkeys are ‘out of proportion,’ with reality, but educational material for tourists and increased patrols could facilitate safe interaction, and discourage feeding
Most interactions  between people and the monkeys were harmless. The team says concerns surrounding the health risks of the monkeys are ‘out of proportion,’ with reality, but educational material for tourists and increased patrols could facilitate safe interaction, and discourage feeding




















Link:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3455286/Florida-s-monkey-river-revealed-study-animals-finds-hundreds-Asian-rhesus-macaques-thrived-Florida-wetlands-decades.html#pq=2h8RjJ




The Primate Diaries


  The Primate Diaries 
Notes on science, politics, and history from a primate in the human zoo.

The Primate Diaries Home 
Eric Michael Johnson has a Master's degree in Evolutionary Anthropology focusing on great ape behavioral ecology. He is currently a doctoral student in the history of science at University of British Columbia looking at the interplay between evolutionary biology and politics.


Helen’s Choice: Female Multiple Mating in the Natural World


By Eric Michael Johnson | December 10th, 2013



“Helen would never have yielded herself to a man from a foreign country, if she had known that the sons of Achaeans would come after her and bring her back. Heaven put it in her heart to do wrong, and she gave no thought to that sin, which has been the source of all our [...]

 Human Nature and the Moral Economy


By Eric Michael Johnson | September 23rd, 2013



Economics is inextricably tied to moral behavior, though few economists will say that. It’s time someone did. In every financial transaction–whether you’re selling a car, paying employees, or repackaging commodity futures as financial derivatives–there are ethical calculations that influence economic activity beyond the price. Sure, you can cheat a potential buyer and not mention that [...]

 We Contain Multitudes: Walt Whitman, Charles Darwin, and the Song of Empathy
 By Eric Michael Johnson | July 19th, 2013



In the struggle for existence how do we herald the better angels of our nature? Author’s Note: On Tuesday I will be traveling to Manchester, England for the International Conference for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine where I’ll be giving my talk entitled “A Historical Epistemology of Empathy from Darwin to De Waal.” [...]


Truth of the Matter

 By Eric Michael Johnson | July 12th, 2013 |



Science is not a path towards truth; therein lies its greatest strength. In his latest book, The Bonobo and the Atheist, primatologist Frans de Waal describes a forum held at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where he spoke alongside the Dalai Lama. De Waal reflected on the great interest that Tibet’s spiritual leader had in [...]

Keep reading »






Equality and Individuality: A Collaboration Between Primates

By Eric Michael Johnson | May 9th, 2013 |



Longtime readers of The Primate Diaries will certainly know the artwork of Nathaniel Gold. Ever since we encountered one another’s work in the spring of 2011 we have been collaborating on a fusion of art and science. But now Nathaniel has taken part in a collaboration that goes beyond species boundaries. By working with sanctuary [...]


The Mosaic of Human Origins

 By Eric Michael Johnson | April 17th, 2013 



New research challenges the story of human evolution, revealing a more complex picture than anyone imagined. Studying the bones of our ancestors does more than connect past with present. When Hamlet held aloft the skull of poor Yorick or when the Boston Puritan Thomas Smith sat for America’s first self-portrait posed with two crania, they [...]



 LINK: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/primate-diaries/

RABBIT HASH HAS A NEW MAYOR


RABBIT HASH HAS A NEW MAYOR
 
The Weird Week in Review
 
In an election story that was buried under national news, the town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, elected a new mayor after current mayor Lucy Lou declined to run again. The winner of the election was a pit bull named Brynneth Pawltrow, or Brynn for short. Retiring mayor Lucy Lou is also a dog, as were her two predecessors as mayor of Rabbit Hash. The mayoral election in the unincorporated community takes place by votes that cost a dollar, which goes to the Rabbit Hash Historical Society. Community members are encouraged to vote early and often. The duties of the new mayor will include guarding the porch of the Rabbit Hash General Store and greeting visitors. Brynn indicates that she is up for the challenge.


Link: http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/89212/weird-week-review


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hitler, the Tiger and Me



Documentary telling the story of Judith Kerr, creator of well-loved children's books.
From BBC's Imagine series.

Hitler, the Tiger and Me

https://youtu.be/LgKbGQMixUw






Saturday, November 19, 2016

Otter Slliding ibn the Snow





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