Isn’t Live Animal Research Livlier

Isn’t Live Animal Research Livlier

In 2008 European researchers demonstrated that when cows and deer are resting or grazing, they face magnetic north or south. Before that the only mammals known to have magnetic-compass orientation were a few species of bats and rodents. Now researchers have discovered that when cows and deer are near power lines, they position themselves randomly. Power lines locally change the earth’s magnetic field. That cows and deer return to their usual north-south alignment away from power lines is taken as further evidence that they sense and respond to magnetic fields. Why this happens is the next field-test.

According to a study done by researchers at UCLA’s Center for Sleep Research, walruses are the only animals that don’t sleep daily. In fact, they can stay active for up to 84 hours without showing behavioral signs of sleep. When they’re in the water, they sleep floating on the surface, lying on the bottom or standing while leaning against something. They’ve even been seen sleeping resting in water while using their tusks to hang from ice floes. When walruses sleep under water, they can hold their breath 4 to 5 minutes. When they sleep on land, they land up to 19 hours of sleep.

According to research, avian adultery isn’t uncommon. Two ornithologists from Oxford University studied the songs of the Peruvian warbling antbird, found mostly in the western Amazon basin. An antbird couple will sing a harmonious duet when confronted by a rival pair of antbirds. However, if a single female approaches, she increases the likelihood the “husband” will cheat on or leave his mate for the new female. To prevent this, the antbird “wife” jams her mate’s song. She interrupts his music with her own music. It seems the wife antbird has a bird’s-eye view of her husband’s wandering eye.

Researchers have studied Santino, a 31-year-old chimpanzee in a Swedish zoo. Before the zoo opened each day, Santino would calmly collect rocks. He would also bang pieces loose from concrete boulders and break them into smaller pieces. In the afternoon Santino would aggressively throw these weapons at zoo visitors. Seeming comfortable in his position as leader, he didn’t throw things at other chimpanzees. To the researchers this human-like behavior demonstrated that Santino was capable of planning ahead and carrying out his plan. Thankfully, because of bad aim, no one was seriously hurt – but Santino didn’t aim to be in a zoo.

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