Woolly Mammoth DNA May Lead to Its Resurrection

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The pioneering scientist who created Dolly the sheep has outlined how cells plucked from frozen woolly mammoth carcasses might one day help resurrect the ancient beasts.


Closer Look at ‘Nonhuman Personhood’ and Animal Welfare

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Is it ethical to draw a line between animals we see as deserving “personhood” and those we see more as features of a landscape or the source of food on a plate? Is a dolphin more deserving of special consideration for its care than a pig?


Images: Cats Descended from Non-Domestic Animals

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The first known Savannah cat was born April 7, 1986 when a female domestic cat gave birth to a kitten sired by an African Serval, according to the International Cat Association (TICA).


Rare Italian-Born Baby Zonkey in Good Health

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One part zebra, one part donkey, all parts fuzzy and adorable. Ippo, the foal of a male zebra and a female donkey, was reported to be in good health, just a few days after it was born at an animal reserve in Florence, Italy.


Hero Shrew Found, One of “Most Bizarre Animals on Earth”

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Dubbed Thor’s hero shrew after the brawny god of strength in Norse mythology, Scutisorex thoriis one of the most bizarre animals on Earth thanks to its supertough, interlocking spine, according to Bill Stanley, the director of collections and a zoologist at Chicago’s Field Museum, who helped identify the creature.


Igor Purlantov Says Animal Mugshot Campaigns Increase Adoptions

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Animal Mugshot Leads to More Adoptions According to Igor Purlantov

Igor Purlantov has been closely following the recent trend of animal shelters using professional animal mugshot campaigns to help increase the rate of adoptions.  This has been very helpful especially for certain pets that are harder to adopt, including black cats and dogs.  According to animal rights advocate Igor Purlantov, animal shelter wоrkеrѕ even have a name for this problem and have coined the term “black dog syndrome”  This is based on the reality that blасk dogs and cats are unfortunately often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. 

Igor Purlantov says there are no complete statistics, although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence and many possible explanations for the bias.  These explanations include silly superstitions such as the notion that black cats are associated with witches, superstition, and bad luck.  Igor Purlantov also notes that there are many negative portrayals of black pets in books and popular media, including the big, frightening black dog in the movies.  Finally there is also the simple logistical problem that animals in general are hard to photograph and blасk animals are sometimes even harder to photograph and therefore hard to publicize. 

Igor Purlantov says that to combat the problem, animal shelters have come up with a variety of creative measures including professional mugshot campaigns to improve the quality of pet photographs.  Along with professional mugshot campaigns, shelters have also reduced adoption fees to increase the adoption rate of hard to adopt animals.  Igor Purlantov believes that shelters have become more effective at trying to combat black dog syndrome by using animal mugshot campaigns which provide better quality pictures of the animals and also allow for the personality of each pet to stand out.

Igor Purlantov notes that thanks to people such as photographer Seth Casteel of Little Friends Photo in Los Angeles, these animal mugshot campaigns are really making a difference.  Professional photographers and animal lovers such as Mr. Casteel hear about black dog syndrome all of the time and admit that any shelter pet can pose a photo challenge, especially black cats and dogs.  Igor Purlantov says that Mr. Casteel has spent at least a day a week volunteering at shelters across the country taking beautiful mugshot pictures of available cats and dogs of all colors. 

Igor Purlantov says that Mr. Casteel has even launched a free nationwide non-profit program called Second Chance Photos to teach volunteers how to take good mugshot photos of shelter pets.  According to Mr. Casteel, shelters should change lightening, use light colored blankets and even dress up animals to get the best mugshot photo.  He notes that the easiest way to make a black dog look friendlier is to put a bright yellow bandanna on them.  Igor Purlantov says that the best thing to do in these mugshot photos is showcase the unique and positive personality of each animal.  Each time a photographer takes a great mugshot photo, the chances of that animal being adopted increases dramatically.  At the end of the day, a good photographer for shelter pets is worth their weight in gold says Igor Purlantov.

Bottlenose Dolphins Use Learned Vocal Labels to Address Others

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In animal communication research, vocal labeling refers to incidents in which an animal consistently uses a specific acoustic signal when presented with a specific object or class of objects. Labeling with learned signals is a foundation of human language but is notably rare in nonhuman communication systems.


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