Can You Give a Dog Ibuprofen?


A: Ibuprofen is not labeled for animal use and should not be given to your dog or cat. Many people think it’s safe to give an animal any medication that they take themselves, but this is not the case. Even if an animal is in pain, giving human pain medication to your pet can actually do more harm than good.

I’ve met many pet owners who have given their dogs Ibuprofen to relieve the pain of arthritis. However, large dosages of this pain reliever can be toxic to dogs.

It’s very important to always discuss any concerns about your pet’s health with your veterinarian instead of giving your pet drugs yourself. Administering drugs yourself, though probably well-intentioned, is never a good idea.


Newly Discovered Giant Lizard Is Human-Sized, Has Two Penises


Biologists have just made one of the most stunning animal discoveries of the year–it’s a cousin of the komodo dragon uncovered on an island in the Philippines. Scientists have dubbed the species of monitor lizard, which measures over six feet in length, the Varanus bitatawa. More on the giant lizard that biologists are calling ‘spectacular’ after the jump. And yes, we’ll get to the whole dual-penis thing.

The AFP reports that the lizard is brightly colored, is not a carnivore (unlike its relative the komodo dragon), and has been habitually hunted by the local populace for food. Combined with ongoing habitat loss from development on the island, the lizard is almost certain to be classified as critically endangered. What’s most amazing about this discovery (besides the fact that the lizard has two members, of course) is that it took place right smack dab in the middle of a highly populated area. According to the AFP, “One reason that the new lizard has gone undetected, the researchers speculate, is that it never leaves the forests of its native Sierra Madre mountains to traverse open spaces.”

How To Stop Your Dog From Begging


I’m no stranger to being surrounded by a pack of dogs gazing at me with that overwhelmingly adorable yet pathetic stare that pooches tend to display either at the dinner table or any time a morsel of food should appear. It’s important to keep in mind that even if a dog is not jumping and whining, that loving stare is considered “begging.”

Begging is a learned behavior which is usually unconsciously reinforced. Many of us see our pets as members of the family, so it’s extremely natural for us to want to share with them. Although it gets annoying to have a pet begging at the dinner table, we have a tendency to block it out and let it continue. One minute we might yell, “Stop begging!” at the guilty dog, but the next minute we feel bad and feed him something. This is exactly where the problem begins.

The Pet Wisperer


Everyone can communicate with animals. The only reason the entire human race isn’t doing it is because we have been conditioned not to. As we grow up we are taught to ignore our intuition, but, by tuning back in to our senses, we can open the doorway to inter-species communication.I first discovered animal communication existed in 2004. I’d adopted my first dog, an eight-year-old mutt called Morgan. He looked so miserable all the time I thought I was doing something wrong. So when I was invited to an animal communication workshop, I decided to give it a try.The teacher told us how he could talk to animals. It took all my willpower not to laugh. We were put into pairs and told to swap the photos – which were face down – that we’d brought of our animals. Then we were told to guess which animal was in the picture.

I looked at the back of the photo and scribbled on my notepad the first word that came into my mind. I just heard it, almost as though it had been whispered in my ear: ‘Rabbit’. When I turned the photo over I found myself staring into the soft shiny eyes of a deep rich sepia-coloured rabbit.

My partner told me this rabbit was called Mr Butch. Then the teacher instructed us to ask our animal a few rudimentary questions: ‘What’s his favourite food?’, ‘What’s his favourite activity?’, ‘Who’s he in love with?’ My mind was racing with doubt but my internal dialogue went like this: ‘I’ve been told to talk to you, but obviously you can’t hear me because you’re a photo, a photo of a rabbit and rabbits can’t talk.’ ‘Who do you think is listening to you then?’I heard this response like a voice inside me, but it was a confrontational, unhappy male voice. Was the rabbit in the photo really talking to me? Surely not? ‘Did you just speak to me?’ I asked warily. ‘Yes,’ came that voice again.Some of the things Mr Butch said didn’t make sense. But some of them were correct. Mr Butch’s big love was an espresso-coloured rabbit. He was an impatient rabbit with attitude, who would also come inside and sit on his owner’s sofa at the same time every Saturday evening.


Right-Handed Chimpanzees Provide Clues To The Origin Of Human Language


Most of the linguistic functions in humans are controlled by the left cerebral hemisphere. A study of captive chimpanzees at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Atlanta, Georgia), reported in the January 2010 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex, suggests that this “hemispheric lateralization” for language may have its evolutionary roots in the gestural communication of our common ancestors. A large majority of the chimpanzees in the study showed a significant bias towards right-handed gestures when communicating, which may reflect a similar dominance of the left hemisphere forcommunication in chimpanzees as that seen for language functions in humans.

A team of researchers, supervised by Prof. William D. Hopkins of Agnes Scott College (Decatur, Georgia), studied hand-use in 70 captivechimpanzees over a period of 10 months, recording a variety of communicative gestures specific to chimpanzees . These included ‘arm threat’, ‘extend arm’ or ‘hand-slap’ gestures produced in different social contexts, such as attention-getting interactions, shared excitation, threat, aggression, greeting, reconciliation or invitations for grooming or for play. The gestures were directed at the human observers, as well as toward otherchimpanzees.

Fish With Human-Like Teeth

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Pacu fish, cousins to the piranha and known as “frugivores,” have human-like teeth that can crack nuts and fruits.They and many other kinds of species of fish with weird teeth are featured in “Hooked”.

human like long teeth

Also known as the “Vampire Fish,” The Payara earns its “vampire” nickname with a set of two-inch daggers thrusting up from its bottom jaw.


Ardi: Oldest Human Ancestor 4.4 Million Years Old

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She lived at the dawn of a new era, when chimps and people began walking (or climbing) along their own evolutionary trails. This is Ardi – the oldest member of the human family tree we’ve found so far. Short, hairy and with long arms, she roamed the forests of Africa 4.4million years ago.

Her discovery, reported in detail for the first time today, sheds light on a crucial period when we were just leaving the trees.
‘This is one of the most important discoveries for the study of human evolution,’ said Dr David Pilbeam, curator of palaeoanthropology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
‘It is relatively complete in that it preserves head, hands, feet, and some critical parts in between.’

Ardi – short for Ardipithecus ramidus or ‘root of the ground ape’ – stood 4ft tall and weighed 110lb. She lived a million years before the famous Lucy, the previous earliest skeleton of a hominid who was dug up in 1974. Experts believe Ardi is very, very close to the ‘missing link’ common ancestor of humans and chimps, thought to have lived five to seven million years ago.

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‘This is not that common ancestor, but it’s the closest we have ever been able to come,’ said Dr Tim White, director of the Human Evolution Research Centre at the University of California, Berkeley, who reports the discovery today in Science. The first fossilised and crushed bones of Ardi were found in 1992 in Ethiopia’s Afar Rift.

But it has taken an international team of 47 scientists 17 years to piece together, analyse and describe the remains.

Ardi’s skeleton had been trampled and scattered, while the skull was crushed to just two inches in height.
Researchers have pieced together 125 fragments of bone – including much of her skull, hands, feet, arms, legs and pelvis – which were dated using the volcanic layers of soil above and below the find.

The results were surprising. Previously, scientists believed that our common ancestor would have been very chimp-like, and that ancient hominids such as Ardi would still have much in common with them.

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But she was not suited like a modern- day chimp to swinging or hanging from trees or walking on her knuckles. This suggests that chimps and gorillas developed those characteristics after the split with humans – challenging the idea that they are merely an ‘unevolved’ version of us.

Ardi’s feet were rigid enough to allow her to walk upright some of the time, but she still had a grasping big toe for use in climbing trees.

And she had long arms but short palms and fingers which were flexible, allowing her to support her body weight on her palms. Her upper canine teeth are more like the stubby teeth of modern people than the long, sharp ones of chimps. An analysis of her tooth enamel suggests she ate fruit, nuts and leaves.

Scientists believe she was a female because her skull is relatively small and lightly built. Her teeth were also smaller than other members of the same family that were found later.

Alan Walker, of Pennsylvania Sate University, told Science: ‘These things were very odd creatures. You know what Tim (White) once said: ‘If you wanted to find something that moved like these things you’d have to go to the bar in Star Wars’.’

Since the discovery, scientists have unearthed another 35 members of the Ardipithecus family. Ardi was found in alongside crumbling fossils of 29 species of birds and 20 species of small mammals – including owls, parrots, shrews, bats and mice.


How We Know A Dog Is A Dog: Concept Acquisition In The Human Brain

dog as smart as human

A new study explores how our brains synthesize concepts that allow us to organize and comprehend the world. The research, published by Cell Press in the September 24th issue of the journal Neuron, uses behavioral and neuroimaging techniques to track how conceptual knowledge emerges in the human brain and guides decision making.

The ability to use prior knowledge when dealing with new situations is a defining characteristic of human intelligence. This is made possible through the use of concepts, which are formed by abstracting away the common essence from multiple distinct but related entities. “Although a Poodle and a Golden Retriever look very different from each other, we can easily appreciate their similar attributes because they can be recognized as instances of a particular concept, in this case a dog,” explains lead study author, Dr. Dharshan Kumaran from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London.

Chimp Babies Better Behaved Than Human Babies

chimp baby

They are thought of as the mischief-makers of the animal kingdom. But baby chimps are less of a handful than their human cousins. If a young chimp is in tears, it is quickly calmed by a cuddle, research shows.This is in sharp contrast to human babies, who, as any sleep-deprived parent will know, often continue to cry, and cry, and cry.

It is thought that the chimp’s more primitive brain matures more quickly, making them better-behaved ‘children’ – at least up to the age of three months.Researcher Professor Kim Bard told the British Science Festival: ‘If you pick up a baby chimp when it is fussing (crying), it calms down and stays calm.

‘Anybody who has had a fussing child knows it is well within the range of the human norm that you pick them up and they are still fussing.‘Chimps don’t get colic, they don’t have inconsolable crying for no reason.
‘You usually pick them up and give them a cuddle and they don’t make a fuss and don’t cry any more.‘But chimps are really consolable. They seem to have better control of their behavioural traits when they’re young.’The Portsmouth University researcher is studying the facial expressions of young chimps.She has already shown they have 16 different smiles – in contrast to human babies who only manage 13 sorts of grin.

Scientists Discover First Genetic Link Between Reptile And Human Heart Evolution


Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease have traced the evolution of the four-chambered human heart to a common genetic factor linked to the development of hearts in turtles and other reptiles.The research, published in the September 3 issue of the journal Nature, shows how a specific protein that turns on genes is involved in heart formation in turtles, lizards and humans
“This is the first genetic link to the evolution of two, rather than one, pumping chamber in the heart, which is a key event in the evolution of becoming warm-blooded,” said Gladstone investigator Benoit Bruneau, PhD, who led the study. “The gene involved, Tbx5, is also implicated in human congenital heart disease, so our results also bring insight into human disease.”

From an evolutionary standpoint, the reptiles occupy a critical point in heart evolution.

While bird and mammalian hearts have four chambers, frogs and other amphibians have three. “How did hearts evolve from three to four chambers?” Bruneau said. “The different reptiles offer a sort of continuum from three to four chambers. By examining them, we learned a lot about how the human heart chambers normally form.”