Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Caught in My Web: What Your Dog Really Thinks About You, Understanding Gestures, Camera Traps and Pruney Fingers

Image by Luc Viatour at Wikimedia Commons.
This week in Caught in My Web, I share what I found when pondering interactions between humans and animals, what we have learned from camera traps, and what our pruney fingers in the bath may have to teach us about our animal nature.

1. Greg Berns, a psychiatry professor at Emory University, set out to use an fMRI scanner to learn more about what dogs think about their humans. Read his story here at Psychology Today. And check out this video describing The Dog Project:

2. Although dogs may be “man’s best friend”, they have failed numerous tests in understanding our gestures, such as pointing, without training. Even chimpanzees require training before understanding the meaning of human pointing. But elephants are now the first non-human species that seems to innately understand human pointing, naturally investigating objects pointed to (comparable to a 1-year-old human). Jack Flanagan discusses this research at NewScientist.

3. At The Thoughtful Animal, Jason Goldman discusses camera traps (weather-resistant cameras that use motion detection sensors to photograph wildlife) and how they are used in animal research. He also reveals the secret ingredient to luring jaguars to the cameras at You’ll Never Guess How Biologists Lure Jaguars To Camera Traps.

4. While we’re talking about camera traps, Siberian tiger researchers set up camera traps in southeastern Russia. One of their cameras took a series of 3 amazing pictures of a golden eagle attacking a sika deer. Check out the pictures at National Geographic.

5. Ever wonder why your fingers get pruney in the bath? Maybe it is a primate adaptation! Mark Changizi explains why at TEDEd:

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