From cool to weird: 12 animal discoveries in 2021

How do cockatoos learn from each other?

Is there such a thing as culture in the animal world? If you define culture as a pattern of behavior that is transmitted from one individual to another, the answer is yes. Studies of animal learning and culture often focus on certain mammals such as whales and great apes. In 2021, scientists wanted to know if parrots also had a culture.

According to one of them, the cockatoo that lives in the outskirts of Sydney, Australia, has a yellow head studyPublished in July in the magazine Science Find out how to open trash cans and develop a new food source. This behavior was quickly adopted by other cockatoos.

This means that parrots now also belong in the “club of animals with culture,” says Barbara Clamp, lead study and behavioral ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Konstanz.

Whale breaks the world record

According to a study published in June 2021 in the journal Biology Letters Appeared, a gray whale set a new world record: it was the first marine vertebrate to travel almost 27,000 kilometers – more than half a trip around the world. The bull whale was spotted off the coast of Namibia in 2013 and was the first gray whale ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.

When Simon Elwen, co-author of the study and a zoologist at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, first heard about the vision in 2013, he was initially skeptical.

“This is roughly analogous to the report of a polar bear walking in Paris: It is technically possible that the animal got there, but it is not particularly realistic.” A well-known group that lives in its homeland in the North Pacific Ocean.

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The ant shrinks its brain and grows again

Salted Harpegnathos, the Indian jumping ant, living in the forests of the west coast of India, has an extremely long jaw, large black eyes, and a peculiar way of choosing a queen. Before the coronation, workers hold competitions, in which the new king wins and is given the ability to produce eggs. This entails some physical changes: the new queen’s ovaries are getting bigger, but her brain is shrinking by 25 percent.

However, it can happen that the queen is pushed off her throne and becomes a simple worker again. In this case, the genitals shrink again, but the brain grows. This unusual process that occurred in a study It will be described in April 2021 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences It has never been seen in insects.

“In the animal world, there’s a level of malleability — especially reversibility — that’s really unique,” said lead study Clint Penick of Kennisaw State University in Utah.

This article was originally in English NationalGeographic.com chest.

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