Is the U.S. a nation of animal lovers? According to a recent article in Psychology Today magazine, absolutely yes. Sixty-five percent of households include a pet, and over half of dogs and cats sleep in their owners’ beds. In fact, if you include pet fish, more animals than people reside in American homes. And it’s not just pets. Humans are fascinated by animals of all kinds. So this week’s Weekly Scholar takes you on a mini-tour of the animal kingdom!
Who Doesn’t Love Dogs?
Nobody We Know
According to Arizona professor Clive Wynne, it’s true that dogs form strong and lasting attractions to people. However, they also form these strong bonds with other animals, as well.
Additionally, according to Amherst professor Catherine Sanderson, dogs are able to reduce stress in both children and adults in a variety of interesting ways.
Birds Turn Off Half of Their Brains to Sleep.
How Cool is That?
How do birds fly for such long distances without stopping for sleep? Believe it or not (you may want to sit down or take a deep breath), birds can sleep and fly at the same time! And one-half of their brains can sleep with the other half awake. USC professor Allison Shultz knows all about it.
If you live in the U.S. or Canada, stick your head out the window and listen closely. You probably won’t hear any birds–or at least not as many as you used to. That’s not a coincidence. Across North America, bird populations are declining precipitously. Over three billion birds have disappeared in the past 50 years–a 30% decline in the total number. USC professor Allison Schultz explains what’s going on in this SPECIAL REPORT.
Male Chimps Don’t Help. Not One Bit.
The gestation period for female chimps carrying their offspring is seven-and-one-half months: a bit less than for humans. However, the lactation period – when baby chimps are fed by their mothers – lasts a full five years. What is the male chimp’s participation, help, and involvement in this 7.5 months, plus five more years, process? It’s essentially zero, according to UNC professor Emily Boehm.
Dangerous Bees May Be Coming. Don’t Make Them Mad.
Hunter College professor Harold Holzer explains that the humble beginnings of Abraham Lincoln are not exaggerated: he did grow up in a one-room cabin with a dirt floor. His mother, who could not read or write, died when he was nine and Lincoln’s father left him alone in the cabin with his two young siblings in order to find a suitable new wife.
Elephants Are Just Like Us (but Much Bigger)
Elephants have various elaborate rituals that are, in some ways, similar to humans. How they greet each other, how they convey safety, and how they treat elders all have specific rules involving their trunks. Harvard’s Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell explains.
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