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Skull scans reveal how prehistoric dogs caught dinner

Skull scans reveal how prehistoric dogs caught dinner

Science
Jan. 11 (UPI) -- To better understand how the earliest dogs hunted, scientists scanned and analyzed the skulls of lions, wolves and hyenas. The research showed the earliest known dog species, Hesperocyon gregarius, likely pounced on its prey, just like foxes and coyotes. Scientists also determined the largest known dog species, Epicyon haydeni, were the size of grizzly bears. Computerized scans of animal skeletons have previously helped scientists to better understand the locomotion of various species. Researchers at Scotland's University Edinburgh and the University of Vienna in Austria used previous scans to build digital models of the inner ears of 36 different carnivore species, allowing them to hone in on the specific hunting methods used by various predators. The modeling effort sho...
Climate change: Will insect-eating dogs help?

Climate change: Will insect-eating dogs help?

Science
Do you fret that your pet pooch is blamed by environmentalists for turning rainforests into poo in the park? Have no fear - you can now fatten Fido on black soldier flies instead of Brazilian beef.A pet food manufacturer now claims that 40% of its new product is made from soldier flies.It's one of many firms hoping to cash in on the backlash against beef by people concerned that the cattle are fed on soya.These soya plantations are responsible for the release of greenhouse gases in significant quantities.Is it good for the dog?The key question is whether a diet of 40% soldier flies meets the nutritional needs of your beloved canine. We put the question to a pet diet expert at the Royal Veterinary College, Aarti Kathrani. Her conclusion was a cautious "ye...
Malaria: Sniffer dogs to help in fight to eradicate disease

Malaria: Sniffer dogs to help in fight to eradicate disease

Health
Media playback is unsupported on your device Scientists in the UK and The Gambia say they have the first evidence that dogs can sniff out malaria.They have trained dogs to recognise tell-tale aromas using clothes from people infected with the disease.It is hoped the animals can be used to stop malaria spreading and eventually help with eradication. Although the research is still at an early stage, experts say the findings may even lead to new ways of testing for the disease.Studies have already shown that being infected with the malaria parasite changes our aroma to make us more attractive to the mosquitoes that spread the disease. Now dogs are on the scent, too.Smelly socksSocks worn overnight by children in the Upper River Region of The Gamb...
Empathetic, calm dogs try to rescue owners in distress, study finds

Empathetic, calm dogs try to rescue owners in distress, study finds

Science
July 24 (UPI) -- Behavioral experiments suggest dogs are prosocial and empathetic, and some dogs will help owners in distress. To better understand how dogs relate and react to humans in distress, scientists observed the responses of dogs to different stimuli and scenarios. In one scenario, researchers had dog owners either make cries of distress or hum while sitting in a chair behind a transparent door. Researchers observed the dogs' responses and measured their heart rates. In a followup experiment, researchers analyzed how dogs looked at their owners to gauge the strength of their relationship. The results showed dogs were equally likely to open the door in response to both crying and humming. However, dogs opened the door more quickly when reacting to their owners' cries. Dogs with l...
Imported guard dogs deployed as part of US wolf-sheep study

Imported guard dogs deployed as part of US wolf-sheep study

Technology
Federal scientists say a four-year study involving nearly 120 guard dogs imported from Europe and Asia found the animals do well protecting sheep from wolves and better than traditional guard dogs deterring coyotes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture supplied Cao de Gado Transmontanos (COHN day GAH'-doh TRANS'-mahn-tan-ohs), Karakachans (kah-RACK'-a-chans) and Kangals (KAN'-gahls) to guard sheep in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon. Scientists say they're still analyzing information from fieldwork that includes remote cameras and GPS collars from the dogs that can weigh up to 140 pounds (64 kilograms). The dogs were gathered as puppies in Portugal, Bulgaria and Turkey and sent to the American West, where they spent four years guarding sheep. Environmentalists say guard dogs c...