DailyDirt: Learning About Our Pets

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

People love their pets, but sometimes pet behavior is hard to understand. Sure, there are technologies like Bowlingual and Meowlingual to help us understand cats and dogs, but automated translations are notoriously imperfect. So here are just a few interesting links on studying domesticated animals.

If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Learning About Our Pets”

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petriedish says:

There is an interesting set of experiments run out of Siberia that looked at selective breeding for tameness and aggression. The first was an attempt to tame Silver foxes. In just a few generations they were able to get animals that show very little fear of humans and crave contact with people. A side effect of the process is that many of the animals started showing up with curly tails and blotched patterns. It appears that these traits are linked to the genetic variants that make a creature less fearful and aggressive. If you have a few grand for shipping and customs clearance they are selling some of the animals as pets to try to fund continuation of these experiments. Another interesting experiment involved breeding both ultra-tame, and hyper-aggressive rats. The aggressive rats can only be handled wearing thick gloves, while the tame ones again crave affection. Both very cool experiments that show that the taming process does not have to happen over hundreds or thousands of years.

Tame Foxes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L58NPPQ5eI
Rat Experiment: http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/08/beyond-room-101-the-hyperaggre.html

Wally says:


Oh the hunting habits of a cat ^_^ My mother told me an interesting story from her days in Nursing School:

“I had this cat named Putty. My room mate and I had an appartment off campus and were living next to a corn field. For the first few months I kept coming home to these pink worms on my kitchen floor in front of my stove. Couldn’t figure it out for months until one day I came home with a half eaten field mouse at my door.”

Needless to say, cats love bringing home trophies to those they care about 🙂

On the subject of trophies, my wife and I frequently throw a toy mouse out for my cat and she brings it back for more. Of course, she plays with it until it’s “dead” and then saunters back with it in her mouth and tail up.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Needless to say, cats love bringing home trophies to those they care about :-)

Hence the reason we the owners of such felines get “trophies” from them. Case in point: my wife’s cat when she was growing up. He curled up with her in her bed and she started petting what she thought was her cat. The next morning she found a dead squirrel where she thought she was petting the cat.

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