Monthly Archives: November 2014

New threat to Pacific humpback whales?

Jumping_Humpback_whale

Once hunted to near extinction, the humpback whales of Canada’s Pacific are back in larger numbers and their status has been downgraded from “threatened” to one “of special concern”.

However, this BBC report shows how there are now concerns that the whales face new risks from increased oil and natural gas exploration.

BBC News – New threat to Canadas Pacific humpback whales?.

Sunday Photo Magazine — 11/30/2014

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‘Divide and rule’—raven politics

World of Birds

 Cognitive biologists now revealed that ravens use a "divide and rule" strategy in dealing with the bonds of conspecifics. Credit: Jorg Massen Cognitive biologists now revealed that ravens use a “divide and rule” strategy in dealing with the bonds of conspecifics. Credit: Jorg Massen

Mythology has attributed many supernatural features to ravens. Studies on the cognitive abilities of ravens have indeed revealed that they are exceptionally intelligent. Ravens live in complex social groups and they can gain power by building social bonds that function as alliances. Cognitive biologists of the University of Vienna now revealed that ravens use a ‘divide and rule’ strategy in dealing with the bonds of conspecifics: Socially well integrated ravens prevent others from building new alliances by breaking up their bonding attempts.

Thomas Bugnyar and his team have been studying the behavior of approximately 300 wild ravens in the Northern Austrian Alps for years. They observed that ravens slowly build alliances through affiliative interactions such as grooming and playing. However, they also observed that these affiliative interactions were…

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