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22

1. Sheep are fearless 2. English common names are misleading when it comes to the genetic differences between goats and sheep You posted a picture of Mountain Goats (Oreamnos americanus), which are a different genus than Domestic Goats (Capra aegagrus). Both Capra and Oreamnos are members of the Subfamily Caprinae, as are Domestic Sheep (Ovis aries). ...


12

Cats and dogs can both view tv screens & monitors ... though their viewing experience is a little different to ours thanks to differences in cone structure leaving them color blind and giving low acuity. Both species have lower levels of color vision than humans. Cats see slightly more color (in the blue green and yellow end of the spectrum) than dogs ...


10

Crows are omnivorous, and will eat almost anything they find or can kill. In this case the prey looks like a Yellow-Shafted Flicker.


9

Yawning is contagious in humans, which means that, in general, it is more likely that a person yawning after perceived (by sight, hearing, or both directions) yawning issued by another person. The frequency of infection varies throughout the day, with a peak in early morning and late evening. A recent study conducted by Ivan Norscia and Elisabetta Palagi ...


8

Among the great apes, chimpanzees and gorillas live in very hierarchical, male-dominated clans that are often in violent conflict with other clans. Bonobos, on the other hand, lead very peaceful lives, and are female-dominated, using sexual contact as a manner of communication to reduce tension within and between groups. Orangutans are largely solitary ...


8

You should also bear in mind that the fact that they are great climbers does not make them fearless. For example, if I were to find myself floating 500 meters above the ground, I would be terrified. The fact that birds do not appear to be scared in the same situation does not make them fearless, it just makes them fliers. Similarly, I am sure a fish would ...


7

Disclaimer: I'm an infectious disease modeler, and generally pretty skeptical of "We modeled X like an outbreak!" claims, because many are just an exercise in curve fitting. Given that, the answer is both "Yes" and "No". "No": Murder as an act really isn't transmissible, and if its not transmissible, it can't be modeled as an infectious disease. "Yes": It ...


7

The idea that we only love our family according to biology is not true, but its also not clear what people mean by the word 'love'. There are many ways to interpret that word! Hope this doesn't totally suck any romantic ideas out of you, but metaphysical concepts of love and romantic ideas of love are not always relevant when you talk about biology. A ...


7

"How come most animals never seem to evolve over millenia?" I guess the word "seem" in your question should not be disregarded. You seem to assume that cockroaches (or most animals as you say) did not change much the last tens or hundreds thousands of years. But what do you know about that? Have you actually reviewed many research that estimate the rate of ...


6

The reason for their behavior is that exactly the fact that even though some of them do indeed get killed, most of them survive -- what you have said. The deer cross the river because that allows for the better continuation of the species rather than if they had stayed on the original side of the river. You could think of it this way: If there was a crowd ...


6

Flies use any object they can find as a landmark. The flies patrol well-defined airspaces underneath landmarks like lampshades. ... Male flies approach a landmark from below and, in the absence of other flies, settle to patrol an airspace close to the landmark. A second male approaching the same landmark chases, or is chased away by, the patrolling fly ...


5

You will be hard-pressed to find any scientific data on this question. Psychology in humans is already a difficult study, at times failing to demonstrate results with real scientific rigor. When studying animal psychology, you face another substantial barrier - language. Although some primates have been taught to communicate with sign language, the best of ...


5

Yes, it is a common behaviour and is called necromone signaling (Yao et al 2009, see references in paper for many examples), and is probably used to avoid predators, parasites and disease. The chemicals used are often similar (unsaturated fatty acids), and seem to have an old evolutionary history (~400 million years). Many groups of species can also detect ...


5

Aldridge et al. (2011) show a correlation between facial phenotypes and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in a sample of 8-12 year old boys. They studied two groups of boys, 65 that had been diagnosed with ASD and 41 who had not. They collected 3D images of the faces and looked for similar patterns among the two groups. They found a significant association ...


5

The species of wasp you're referring to is Glyptapanteles. I'm not sure which virus it is. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14053-zombie-caterpillars-controlled-by-voodoo-wasps.html?feedId=online-news_rss20 Is it possible? Of course, you have an example! Though, there is a small caveat. Some of the offspring sacrifice themselves to induce the ...


4

For these two phenomena to create the same feelings all of the time, the physiology that engenders these feelings would have to be the same. All I can do is point out that these have been separate and distinct even in yeast and bacteria and invoke a likelihood argument. The impulse for hunger is almost as old as living things. In bacteria, cyclic ...


4

The fungus releases toxins, but how exactly this alters behavior is unclear. You can read more here. Pathogen manipulation of host behavior appears to have evolved a long time ago, and cordyceps is not the only pathogen that acts like this.


4

I think it is a necessary test of self-awareness. In order to make the connection that "I am the being in the mirror" and that every action I do will be reflected in the mirror (or, vice versa, every action I see the being in the mirror take is a reflection of my own action), one must first have a concept of self. One requires a constant present-tense (at ...


3

It is called a frisson, and actually, there has been a study about it, available here. The frisson is kind of the same you get from cold weather, fear, or... well, other things not suitable to discuss if not knowing how old people reading this might be. Actually, they found that this works best if you include familiarity. In their case, asking study ...


3

Sexual arousal, in and of itself, is pleasurable in a way that hunger is not. As to why this is, perhaps visual stimulation and anticipation improves the sexual function of animals more than it improves eating. One possible explanation is sperm competition. Either arousal state can be induced by visual stimuli. However, the respective hormones work ...


2

I would suggest that the behaviour of the gazelles you are citing is perhaps over simplified. There will likely be temporal and spatial dynamics in their behaviour... Prey will probably spend more time concentrating on observation when they know there are predators around. There will also be likely peak times during which hunting occurs (in savannah systems ...


2

Although there is clearly no feasible mechanism for such a phenomenon, there is good evidence that transplant patients can believe in some sort of transference of qualities from the donor. See for example (my emphasis): Inspector, Y. et al. (2004) Another Person's Heart: Magical and Rational Thinking in the Psychological Adaptation to Heart ...


2

This is a prototypical case of evolution by natural selection. Any trait that prevents the organism from being eaten or destroyed will probably make that organism more likely to reproduce* than similar organisms that do not have that trait**. This results in self-preservation traits becoming more prevalent in the population and eventually ubiquitous. * Or ...


2

This seems to be rather impossible to answer! Very fundamental laws of nature are rather found in physics, mathematics or philosophy than in biology. The theory of evolution is generally considered as a field that brings light to the whole science of biology. T. Dobzhanski famously said: "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" So I ...


2

Shigeta brings up the question of altruism which Richard Dawkins famously explains in the context of evolution in The Selfish Gene. This is probably the easiest way to translate feelings of love into biology. EO Wilson has also addressed the idea of kinship and altruism, providing arguments on both sides of the issue at this point. He was an early champion ...


2

Shared environmental factors are those shared by the twins: uterine/prenatal environment and then the home environment and other environments both twins are raised in or remain in together. Unique environments are any environment not shared by the twins - they generally appear later in age.


2

Music and Emotions The most difficult problem in answering the question of how music creates emotions is likely to be the fact that assignments of musical elements and emotions can never be defined clearly. The solution of this problem is the Theory of Musical Equilibration. It says that music can't convey any emotion at all, but merely volitional ...


2

All phenotypic traits have some part of the variance which is explained by the environment and some part that is explained by the genes. The heritability is then defined as: $$H_N = \frac{V_{genetic}}{V_{phenotype}} = \frac{V_{genetic}}{V_{genetic}+V_{environment}+V_{interaction. gene.environment}}$$ where $V_{genetic}$ is the Variance in phenotypic ...


2

Of course. As you quoted from Wikipedia: It is commonly associated with tiredness, stress, overwork, lack of stimulation and boredom. Insomniacs, because they can't get a good sleep, are more tired and stressed than the others.


2

This is a hard question to respond to. Many things might make someone grumpy. There are also individual temperaments, making grumpy hard to quantify - a Grumpy to one person might barely be a blip on another individual's scale. Hormones like cortisol reflect stress, and can make people in general irritable, but I doubt any one combination of hormones ...



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