Here’s one of our favorite photos of all time.
A zookeeper dressed up in a giant panda suit carries panda cub Cao Gen at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center.
Scientists wear the panda suits to limit human interaction with the endangered bears, which are being left to fend for themselves in the new habitat so they can learn crucial survival skills and live in the wild without assistance.
Strongest Evidence of Animal Culture Seen in Monkeys and Whales
by Michael Balter
Until fairly recently, many scientists thought that only humans had culture, but that idea is now being crushed by an avalanche of recent research with animals. Two new studies in monkeys and whales take the work further, showing how new cultural traditions can be formed and how conformity might help a species survive and prosper. The findings may also help researchers distinguish the differences between animal and human cultures.
Researchers differ on exactly how to define culture, but most agree that it involves a collective adoption and transmission of one or more behaviors among a group. Humans’ ability to create and transmit new cultural trends has helped our species dominate Earth, in large part because each new generation can benefit from the experiences of the previous one.
Researchers have found that similar, albeit much simpler, cultural transmission takes place in animals, including fish, insects, meerkats, birds, monkeys, and apes. Sometimes these cultural traits seem bizarre, such as the recently developed trend among some capuchin monkeys to poke each other’s eyeballs with their long, sharp fingernails—a behavior that originated among a small group of individuals and which has spread over time…
(photo: (top, monkies) Erica van de Waal; (bottom, whales) Jennifer Allen/Whale Center of New England; Jennifer Allen/Ocean Alliance)
Possibilities for animals screaming in the woods in the middle of the night:
cougar (now extinct in the east)
porcupine (more like a baby crying)
possibly Woodhouse’s Toad?
Historiae Animalium by Conrad Gesner (1551-1587)
“Conrad Gesner’s Historiae Animalium (Studies on Animals) is considered to be the first modern zoological work. Building a bridge between ancient, medieval, and modern science, he chronicles data from old sources, such as The Old Testament, Aristotle and medieval bestiaries, and adds his own observations, creating a new, comprehensive description of the Animal Kingdom. In what is the first attempt by anyone to describe many of the animals accurately, the book is illustrated with hand-colored woodcuts drawn from personal observations by Gesner and his colleagues.”