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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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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.