Skip to content

Archive for

Do Dogs Feel Guilt?

guilty-dog-1-053112After a stressful day at work, you come home, only to discover that Rover has raided the trash and left a disaster all over the kitchen floor.

"You bad boy," you say in your sternest voice. Rover lowers his head, whines and backs away. "Yes," you say in a slightly more conciliatory tone. "You are a bad boy, aren't you." Rover rolls over onto his back. "Bad boy," you say in a now-cuddly voice, patting his tummy. Rover wags his tail.

So, what's up here? Was Rover feeling real guilt when you walked in? Did he see tearing up the trash as a moral failing? Or does he simply have such a good bead on you that he knows that putting on a particular "guilty" look is the best way to defuse your annoyance and get you back on his side?

Jason Goldman reports on a new study that seeks to answer the question: Read more

Judge Rules SeaWorld Committed ‘Serious’ Violation in Death of Trainer

Tilikum in isolation after killing his trainer

SeaWorld claims it can stop its enraged, depressed, captive orcas from killing their trainers by slapping the water to distract them. But a judge has decided to slap SeaWorld instead.

Yesterday, Judge Ken Welsch upheld most of the charges that OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has leveled against SeaWorld, concerning violations of safety standards when Tilikum dragged trainer Dawn Brancheau to a prolonged, grisly death in front of a hapless audience at the "Dine with Shamu" show at its Orlando circus last year. Read more

Bob Barker Does It Again

Just three weeks after he completed a half-million-dollar donation to Chimp Haven, a Louisiana sanctuary for former laboratory chimpanzees, Bob Barker has sent $250,000 to Save the Chimps, a sanctuary in Florida.

Read more

All Dressed Up for Their Last Foie Gras Spree


There's something quite chilling about this series of photos, taken by Marcio Jose Sanchez at the Sent Sovi restaurant in Saratoga, California.

The diners were gathered for one of their last foie gras eating sprees before the ban on producing this "delicacy" goes into effect in California in July. Imagine getting all dressed up to eat something that's produced by pushing a pipe down the throat of a duck and force-feeding her until her liver is so sick that it enlarges to ten times its normal size. (The name means "fat liver".) Read more

Warmest Spring on Record


The spring of 2012 is set to go down as the warmest in the U.S. since records began to be kept in 1895. The previous record was in the spring of 1910, and was boosted by especially high temperatures in the northern regions – the Dakotas, Oregon, Montana and parts of Minnesota.

The graphic is courtesy of University of Maryland professor Steve Scolnik, whose blog is at Capital Climate.

Interactive Map of Temperature Records

Check out this remarkable map of records around the country since the year 2000 – courtesy of Climate Central. See where your own neck of the woods has hit a record. Read more

131 Years of Global Warming in 30 Seconds

This video from NASA shows how temperatures around the globe have warmed since 1880.

Chimps, Orangutans Have Human-Like Personalities

Do chimpanzees, orangutans and other nonhuman great apes have distinct personalities like us? It’s been a longstanding debate within the scientific community, and those who seek to exploit these animals have long argued that “personality” is a distinctly human attribute, not shared by any other species.

Read more

How Earth Recovered from an Earlier Extinction

How long might it take to recover from the Sixth Great Extinction that scientists tell us is now underway? The most well known extinction event was the one that brought an end to the reign of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. That was the Fifth Great Extinction.

Read more

Dinosaurs Live On as "Most Successful Land Species"

It may be hard to imagine that your common house sparrow is the direct descendant of the dinosaurs (to be precise, she is a dinosaur). But we know it’s true. And now we know a little more about how the transition took place.

Read more

Racing 1,000 Miles to Her Adoption – Aaaw!


A small stray dog has become a sensation all across China after joining up with a cycling team and running with them for more than 1,000 miles. Read more

Can Zoos Save Animals from Extinction?

What happens when the primary mission of a zoo, which is to entertain people, meets up with a secondary mission to become involved in conservation programs?

Read more

Imaginary Menagerie Takes to the Streets

Imagine if the animals escaped from the zoo and took to the streets. That's what the folks at Lichtfaktor in Cologne, Germany, did when they put together this remarkable light painting.

Over four nights last winter, the team took their imaginary menagerie across Cologne's streets and parks. There's a huge octopus, a sea of jellyfish pulsing in the air and a snail whose "shell" is a discarded, cardboard box.

The video won a 2012 German Web Video Award.

Masters of Camouflage


Check out this beautiful conch shell ...

... Well, actually it's an octopus. Read more

Why Newborn Beluga Whale Died at Aquarium

Mother Maris with her baby at the Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is trying to explain why a newborn Beluga whale calf died there yesterday. But scientists aren't buying the explanation. Read more

Top Ten ‘New’ Species for 2012


Meet the sneezing monkey, the SpongeBob SquarePants mushroom, the walking cactus, and the devil's worm. While they're hardly "new" species (they've all been around a lot longer than we humans!), they're certainly newly discovered, and all part of the annual Top Ten list of fascinating new finds in the animal and plant world. Read more

Chimp Rescues Ducklings … Then Demands Reward

When Bossou saw three ducklings in the water around his Chimp Island at the Dublin Zoo, he decided it was time to rescue them. But he wasn’t going to give them to the SPCA without a reward.

Read more

“Melancholia” and Climate Change – How the World Ends

Is the arrival of the doom-laden, rogue planet Melancholia, in last year’s movie of the same name, a metaphor for what’s happening as climate change overtakes the Earth?

Read more

Giant Turtle Returned to the Ocean

A touching video of a giant leatherback turtle being rescued and returned to the ocean on the beaches of Grenada. Check out the work of the KIDO Ecological Research Station, which is working to preserve the land and ocean there.

Leatherback turtles are the biggest and fastest turtles in the ocean. Right now, they can all use our help.

Where in the World Is All the Water?


If you took all the water in the world and scooped it into one big ball – the oceans, ice caps, rivers, wells, clouds, the water that's in you and your dog and the orange in the fruit bowl, all of it, it all fits into that bubble over North America.

Separate out all the fresh water – lakes, rivers, groundwater and swamp water – and you have the small bubble hovering over Kansas.

And for just the water that's in the rivers and lakes, that would be the tiny bubble you can barely see over Atlanta. (Yes, 99 percent of all the world's freshwater is in the ground, and most of it is inaccessible.) Read more