Language is for the Birds
The Japanese songbird parus minor uses a variety of notes to call for others nearby. This itself isn't unique and falls into line with how most people think animal communication works. But what this bird revealed may change that perception: these birds combine notes to change their meaning. Researchers discovered this by recording the notes and playing them back for birds. What they discovered is that they consistently reacted the same way to the same notes.
Episodic Memory of Dogs
Episodic memory—the type of memory humans possess—refers to how we can recall things that have happened without having to specifically encode them to memory. In other words, we can recall things without actively committing it to memory. Dogs exhibit this kind of memory as well, lending credence to the idea that it's not merely an evolutionary quirk experienced in primates.
Sadness of Elephants
Elephants tend to be the benchmark for animals with complex intellect and emotions. But did you know that elephants enter a period of mourning when a member of their family dies? It's true! The mourning period lasts for several days and in some instances elephants have been known to cover the deceased with dirt.
Society of Cows
Despite being herd animals, cows develop intricate social structures among themselves, which in turn affects their behavior. Researchers discovered that a cow will choose to sleep next to another cow that it is most familiar with, exhibiting a sort of friendship. Cows at the top of the hierarchy are seen as leaders by other members of the herd and take precedence.