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Some of the bird world’s mimicry superstars. Clockwise from top left: superb lyrebird; silvereye; satin bowerbird; Australian magpie; mistletoebird; brown thornbill. Alex Maisey; Justin Welbergen; Johan Larson; Leo/Flickr; David Cook/Filckr; Patrick/Flickr

The mimics among us — birds pirate songs for personal profit

From Roman classics to British tabloids, humans have long celebrated the curious and remarkable ability of birds to imitate the sounds of humans and other animals. A recent surge of research is revealing…
Don’t even go there, girlfriend! KOO/Shutterstock

Ravens have social abilities previously only seen in humans

Humans and their primate cousins are well known for their intelligence and social abilities. You hear them called bird-brained, but birds have demonstrated a great deal of intelligence in many tasks. However…
Our relationship with four-legged friends has brought many benefits. JDEN

Canine and able: how dogs made us human

What role have dogs played in human evolution? Woof … now there’s a question. Anthropologist Pat Shipman, in a recent issue of American Scientist, suggests dogs gave our human ancestors an advantage over…
Pet cats are single-minded hunters, but are they wiping out native species? bolg/Flickr

Jury still out on whether cats are killers, but prison is on the cards

In “The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson”, Mark Twain equated keeping a cat to domestic bliss: When there was room on the ledge outside of the pots and boxes for a cat, the cat was there – in sunny weather…

Chimps share to be social

A new study of chimpanzees has documented a frequency of sharing previously unreported for animals, demonstrating that they…

Can crows read?

Crows can recognise and ascribe numerical meaning to symbols, a new study shows, suggesting that the unusually intelligent…

Humans and chimps share more with each other

Chimpanzees have shown significant signs of prosocial behaviour. The new finding is in contrast with previous thought that…
Four year-old Ayen Chol died after being attacked by a neighbour’s pit bull cross (AFP PHOTO/William WEST)

Breed blame-game: banning Pit Bulls won’t work

The recent death of four year-old, Ayen Chol from a pit bull attack has again prompted calls to ban the breed. But instead of focusing on a particular breed, or responding to single events as they occur…

Stress linked to parent’s childhood

Researchers have used rats in a study to discover stress and resilience can be inherited. Rats were used in the study because…

Hair snares track badgers

Badgers are a protected species in Wisconsin and yet very little is actually known about them. To combat this, researchers…
The largest surviving population of northern white-cheeked crested gibbons (Nomascus leucogenys), has been found in Vietnam. Adult female with baby and adult male. © Terry Whittaker

The survivors: largest remaining group of endangered gibbons discovered

Scientists have discovered the largest surviving population of the critically endangered white-cheeked crested gibbon (Nomascus…
A study of green-rumped parrotlets found that adopted chicks use the names given to them by their foster parents, suggested naming is learned rather than hard-wired. Flickr/barloventomagico

What’s my name? How wild parrots identify their young

Wild parrots name their chicks by teaching them an individual sound to identify them, researchers have found. Humans and…

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