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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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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.