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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Translating a Dog's Growl
23 March 2010 2:36 pm
Is there hidden meaning in your dog's growls? In the April issue of Animal Behaviour, scientists report on an experiment in which they put a pooch in a room with a juicy bone. As the animal approaches the bone, the researchers play a recording of a dog growling to guard food from an interloper. In most cases, that stops the dog in its tracks. However, if the researchers instead play a recording of a dog growling at a stranger—which sounds very similar to the human ear—the experimental dog is usually not deterred from the bone. The researchers say this may show that dog growls are not generic hostile warnings, but actually convey content. Whether animals can communicate this way is a hot topic in animal cognition circles. Some monkeys can specify the type of prey they've spotted through their alarm calls. But this type of ability in dogs hasn't been proved.