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Identifying and respecting other personalities: stories to inspire

Identifying and respecting other personalities: stories to inspire

The study of animal personalities is rapidly become one of the fastest growing areas of research in behavioural biology and ecology. The term ‘personality’, within this context, is used to describe significant behavioural and physiological differences between individuals of the same species, which are consistent over time in different contexts or situations. For field researchers,…

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Talking beluga – are we missing the point?

Just as a debate is raging in the US about the proposed import of 18 beluga whales for display scientists in the US have published research which they believe shows that the vocalisation of one particular beluga whale in captivity were remarkably close to human speech. Listen to the recording and judge for yourself. This is…

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WE ARE NOT ALONE: scientists conclude whales, dolphins and many other species are conscious

Consciousness is often perceived as an ethereal notion which is difficult to pin down. However, finally, a group of eminent scientists meeting to discuss the neurobiological basis of conscious experience and related behaviours agreed that: “Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity…

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Dolphin social networks are unusually open

In March 2012 the New Scientist reported on research in Shark Bay Western Australia which shows that male bottlenose dolphins in this area cooperate in groups of two or three. These smaller groups also link with others to form ‘gangs’ of up to 14 males and these ‘gangs’ can sometimes also coalesce to form even larger…

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Who could own a whale?

When a sick or injured animal is taken into captivity so that we might help them rehabilitate to full health so that they can eventually be released back into the wild, do the humans who have taken on the role of ‘looking after’ that individual then ‘own’ them and who gets to decide on that individual’s…

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Orca rights: stuff and nonsense?

In the post festive haze, as we wade through the sea of discarded Christmas presents, it is hard not to recognise that one of the things that sets us humans apart from many other species (but perhaps not quite all species), is our relationship with ‘stuff’. We make it, we buy it, we collect it, we…

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