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27 November 2013 12:59 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
Science has exposed a thriving academic black market in China involving shady agencies, corrupt scientists, and...
Paper-selling agencies flourish in the aura of reputable businesses. For some scientists, it may be difficult to tell...
The new head of the National Center for Science Education promises to "fight the good fight" against attacks on...
Analyses of the H7N9 strains isolated from four new cases show that the virus is evolving rapidly, heightening anxiety...
In 2009, Jack Szostak shared a Nobel Prize for his part in discovering the role of telomeres, the end bits of...
Featuring the first lunar rover in 40 years, Chang'e-3 is seen as an important milestone on China's quest to send a...
Data collected by satellites and floating probes have chronicled a 2-decade rise in the temperature and thickness of a...
Cholesterol, the artery-clogging molecule that contributes to cardiovascular disease, has another nasty trick up its...
- 27 November 2013 12:59 pm , Vol. 342 , #6162
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Video: What Tail Wagging Means to Other Dogs
31 October 2013 12:00 pm
When your dog wags his tail, you probably think he’s happy. And he is, if he’s swinging it to the right; but if he’s wagging to the left, he’s likely anxious—a difference that scientists detected 6 years ago. But what about other dogs: Can they also read the message in a tail? To find out, researchers tested 43 dogs of various breeds for their ability to distinguish between wags. They monitored the dogs’ heart rates and reactions while showing them videos of other Fidos doing either left- or right-asymmetric tail wagging, as in the video above. To make sure that the animals weren’t watching other facial or body cues, the researchers also showed the dogs only a silhouetted version of the wagging pooch. In the end, it didn’t matter whether they watched the natural dog or the silhouette; every canine understood the meaning in a left or right tail wag, the team reports today in Current Biology. Those that saw the dog wag to the left looked anxious, and their heart rates increased—a sign of stress. But dogs that watched the pooch swing its tail to the right stayed calm and relaxed—an indication that right wags are an expression of companionship and confidence, the scientists say. Thus, tail wagging does matter to other dogs and is a good reflection of what is happening in a dog’s brain, the team concludes.