Animal behaviour

Articles (1 - 20 of 48)

Crocodiles keep their own secrets. Tambako

The unknown crocodiles

Just a few years ago, crocodilians – crocodiles, alligators and their less-known relatives – were mostly thought of as slow, lazy, and outright stupid animals. You may have thought something like that…
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…
Tired? I know how you feel, my friend. Fran Tapia/Flickr

Contagious yawns show social ties in humans and bonobos

Most of us have experienced the overwhelming urge to yawn in response to another person yawning – but we’re not the only…
Who could be a bad parent to this face? Jennifer Sanderson

Stressed out mongooses can’t cope with baby booms

Many of us know from personal experience that raising children can be stressful, but a new study reveals that stress can be enough to affect the quality of parenting – in mongooses, at least. A recent…
Rabbit or duck, it’s all in the eyes. Wikimedia

Animals could help reveal why humans fall for illusions

Visual illusions, such as the rabbit-duck (shown above) and café wall (shown below) are fascinating because they remind us of the discrepancy between perception and reality. But our knowledge of such illusions…
Why did they always have to go in groups? Martin Ezcurra

How I found the world’s oldest communal toilets

Fossils can tell us lots about animals – their size, age or sex, which is mostly physical characteristics. Evidence about how they may have behaved is rare. But the 240m-year-old fossil dung that I found…
Rest in peace, buddy. emil_95

Ant undertakers are always ready to take one for the team

Ants have been quite successful, evolutionarily speaking. They are found on every continent, apart from Antarctica. They fill a range of ecological niches, from the tops of towering rain forest trees to…
Mobile nursery for parasites. Paul Appleton

Manipulative parasites make hornets their nest

Hornets put fear into the minds of most, but there is a parasite that the hornets fear (if indeed they are capable of fear). Sphaerularia vespae is a parasitic nematode that infects the Japanese yellow…
Captive bred Tasmanian devils have recently been reintroduced to Tasmania. But do we want daring or docile devils in the wild? AAP

Personality matters: when saving animals, fortune favours the bold

Reintroduction programs are key initiatives for re-establishing or re-stocking animal populations, and while some are successful, many, unfortunately, are not. Endangered and critically endangered animals…

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