21 Jun 2010
Tags: Aborigines, animals, Australia, Canis dingo), Canis familiaris, Canis lupus, dingo, Dog, dog-like, domesticated dogs, Pet, smarter, South Australia, studies, Wild, wild animals, wolf-like, wolves
Studies in the past have shown that wolves are smarter than domesticated dogs when it comes to solving spatial problems, and now new research has shown that dingoes also solve the problems well.The dingo is considered a “pure” prehistoric dog, which was brought to Australia tens of thousands of years ago by the Aborigines. While they have in the past been associated with humans, they have adapted to surviving “wild” in the Australian outback.
The dingo lies somewhere between the wolf, its ancient ancestor, and the domestic or pet dog, and has cognitive differences between the two. There has been little research done on dingoes, even though studies would aid in the understanding of the evolution of dogs, and it was unknown whether the dingo was more “wolf-like” or “dog-like”. Researchers in South Australia have now subjected the Australian dingo (Canis dingo) to the classic “detour task,” which has been used by previous researchers to assess the abilities of wolves (Canis lupus) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) to solve non-social, spatial problems.
The detour task involves placing a treat behind a transparent or wire mesh fence. The dog can see the food but cannot get to it directly and has to find its way along the fence and through a door and then double back to get the food. More
21 Jun 2010
Tags: Australia, Britain, British Royal Society journal Biology Letter, Continents, Decline, Disease, Eight, FRANCE, habitat loss, ITALY, Nigeria, over-exploitation, pollution, Population, prey, Snake, Snake Population, species, Three, Three Continents
Distinct populations of snake species on three continents have crashed over the last decade, raising fears that the reptiles may be in global decline, according to a study published recently.The pattern across the eight species monitored was alarmingly similar despite their geographical isolation, which points to a common cause such as climate change, the researchers said.
Other factors known to play a role include habitat loss, pollution, disease, lack of prey and over-exploitation, either for food or trade.The study showed that 11 of 17 snake populations in Britain, France, Italy, Nigeria and Australia dropped off sharply over a four-year period starting in the late 1990s.“Our data revealed an alarming trend,” the authors reported in the British Royal Society journal Biology Letters.