Though archaeology can help us pin down the when and where of dog domestication (current thinking is that it happened at least 15,000 years ago in Europe, Asia, or both), bones are mostly silent on the how and the why of this story. By studying other canids like foxes and wolves, and by analyzing dog genes, behavior, and brains—their sweet, friendly, trusting brains—researchers are developing new ideas about how the big bad wolf became the dear little dog.
Normally, animals can adapt to changes in their environments with corresponding changes in their behaviors. One well-studied example is what’s called “fear extinction learning.” Animals can be taught to associate harmless things like a sound or lights with a negative outcome. But, if that association changes over time, they can also forget it.
Gorillas sing and hum when eating, a discovery that could help shed light on how language evolved in early humans.
Singing seems to be a way for gorillas to express contentment with their meal, as well as for the head of the family to communicate to others that it is dinner time.
Many of us have become so accustomed to social media that it is hard to remember when it was not intrinsic to our lives, though in reality it has not existed in a meaningful sense for more than 20 years. Over the last decade, the amount of time spent on social media and in front of screens has slowly yet steadily increased, arousing the interest of many health professionals trying to understand its impact on human health. A new study, which is being hailed as the most trustworthy scientific assessment of social media’s effects, suggests that quitting Facebook is unequivocally positive for one’s mental health.