Too close for comfort: Proximity to humans is significantly affecting the behaviours of lion-tailed macaques

The Lion-tailed macaque, an endemic species of primates in the Western Ghats. [Image credits: Ganesh Raghunathan] Warning: This article contains images showing animal injuries that may be disturbing to some readers. In the Annamalai hills of Valparai, Western Ghats, lives a species of primates found nowhere else on the planet—the lion-tailed macaques. For thousands of years, they have lived a life of frolic—jumping from tree to tree in the canopy of the rainforest and feasting on their favouri
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Watch grizzly bears run on treadmills—and find out why they like hiking trails

If you’ve ever worried a bear might be after your picnic basket, you may want to take the hardest, hilliest trail to your destination. That’s the take-home message of a new study, in which researchers got nine bears to run on treadmills—a first for science—and found that they, like their laziest human counterparts, prefer flat paths to save energy. The study, scientists say, may help explain why bears are often found around popular hiking trails. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) need to

Too close for comfort: Proximity to humans is significantly affecting the behaviours of lion-tailed macaques

The Lion-tailed macaque, an endemic species of primates in the Western Ghats. [Image credits: Ganesh Raghunathan] Warning: This article contains images showing animal injuries that may be disturbing to some readers. In the Annamalai hills of Valparai, Western Ghats, lives a species of primates found nowhere else on the planet—the lion-tailed macaques. For thousands of years, they have lived a life of frolic—jumping from tree to tree in the canopy of the rainforest and feasting on their favouri

With humans around, dogs on the street tend to be friendlier

Researchers show how free-ranging dogs modify their behaviour and personalities based on our presence in urban areas. When we started building cities, about ten thousand years ago, little did we think about the creatures that shared the space with us! Like it or not, our bustling cities are home to a few species of birds, insects, reptiles and mammals, who have successfully adapted to cope with the madness around. Studies have shown that lizards, birds and moths have all devised innovative stra

Numbers mean strength, in a dog’s world too

Study finds dogs interact with humans with higher confidence when they are in groups In a human-dominated world, animals deserve praise for having devised grand strategies to survive. Unlike some of us, who fuss about their mere existence, animals change their natural behaviour in the presence of humans. Studies have shown that monkeys have developed unique gestures to communicate with us, and hedgehogs have changed their foraging behaviour to avoid crowded areas in daylight. Birds are not far

In murky waters, here’s how zebrafish ace the trick of finding food

Study shows zebrafish use visual cues to find food in turbid water Delhi’s winter haze is infamous for disrupting the air, railway and road traffic. With visibility dropping to near zero on a few days, life-threatening accidents spike during this season. Animals, on the other hand, seem to have a trick up their sleeves—they use sounds or visual cues to help them ‘see’ through low-visibility conditions. But what about fish? Can they navigate through turbid waters? Indeed, says a study by researc

For these ants, the road to their new nest is almost never long

Study shows how a species of Indian ants choose the shortest path when they relocate their nest. In the age of Google Maps, going from one place to another in the shortest time or distance is a cakewalk. The complex algorithms in the application do all the maths, taking into account the traffic, route restrictions and the distance, and pop up the best route. Insects, with their tiny brains, can also do such sophisticated calculations. Studies have shown that bumblebees, honeybees and ants compa

Studying fruit flies: A sneak peek into their lives in the lab

Disgusting, annoying or beneficial? What would you call these pestering fruit flies that don’t miss an opportunity to sit on your favourite cut fruit or visit your kitchen a few times? Whatever you call them, did you know we owe a great deal of our knowledge on evolution to these pesky flies? Ever wondered what’s the lifestyle of Drosophila melanogaster, as they are scientifically called, within the four walls of a laboratory where they are experimented upon? Here is a sneak peek. A sumptuous m

What flies can teach us about achieving the perfect landing, albeit upside down!

Researchers study the interplay between biology and mechanics to understand how flies land inverted on ceilings. Skilled pilots somersaulting their planes high up in the sky, though awe-inspiring, may come across as a sophisticated act only our complex brains with a hundred billion neurons, can peform. But, can you believe that tiny flies, which have only about a hundred thousand neurons, can do the same? In a new study, researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Benga

Speaking a million words in a single gaze

"An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language," said Martin Buber, an Austrian philosopher. This saying is especially true of dogs, which have evolved an incredible gaze, so powerful that it can melt hearts. Studies on gazing behaviour is an evolving area of research in animal behaviour, and where better to start than with dogs, considered man's (and woman's) best friend! In a recent study, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata (IISER Kolkat
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