10 Daily Random Facts

Groot is a common last name in the Netherlands.

Mosquitoes bite people with Type O blood nearly twice as often as those with Type A.

When waking up, jump up quickly and the rapid movement will help rebalance any pooled blood and quicken blood flow to your brain and heart.

The Gulabi Gang (meaning pink gang) is a gang of women in India that go after abusive husbands and fight to stop child marriages.

Iran arrested 14 squirrels in 2007 for espionage.

There is a mountain in Australia named Mt. Disappointment, named as the explorers found the view from it sub par and wanted to reflect that.

In 2008 a man struck a deal with prosecutors agreeing to plead guilty to murder in exchange for a bucket of KFC & some Popeyes chicken

Roman Emperor Elagabalus used prototypes of Whoopee cushions at official dinner parties. His behavior would estrange many other Romans, leading to his assassination at the age of 18.

There have been 12 U.S. presidents during the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Dr. Phil doesn’t have a license to practice psychology. Since his TV show involves “entertainment,” he doesn’t need one.

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Wolves cooperate but dogs submit, study suggests

19 August 2014

For dog lovers, comparative psychologists Friederike Range and Zsófia Virányi have an unsettling conclusion. Many researchers think that as humans domesticated wolves, they selected for a cooperative nature, resulting in animals keen to pitch in on tasks with humans. But when the two scientists at the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna studied lab-raised dog and wolf packs, they found that wolves were the tolerant, cooperative ones. The dogs, in contrast, formed strict, linear dominance hierarchies that demand obedience from subordinates, Range explained last week at the Animal Behavior Society meeting at Princeton University. As wolves became dogs, she thinks, they were bred for the ability to follow orders and to be dependent on human masters.

Range and Virányi developed their new portrayal of dogs and wolves by giving a series of tests to socialized packs of mixed-breed dogs and wolves, four packs of each species, containing anywhere from two to six animals each. The scientists raised all the animals from about 10 days old at the Wolf Science Center in Game Park Ernstbrunn, Austria, living with them 24 hours a day until they were introduced to pack life, so that they were accustomed to humans.

Range and her colleagues tested the dogs’ and wolves’ tolerance for their fellow pack members with a mealtime challenge. The researchers paired a high-ranking dog with a low-ranking pack buddy and set out a bowl of food, then gave the same challenge to a pair of wolves. In every matchup, “the higher ranking dog monopolized the food,” Range told the meeting. “But in the wolf tests, both high- and low-ranking animals had access” and were able to chow down at the same time. At times, the more dominant wolves were “mildly aggressive toward their subordinates, but a lower ranking dog won’t even try” when paired with a top dog, Range said. “They don’t dare to challenge.”

Wolves also beat the hounds on tests that assessed whether the canids were able to follow the gaze of their fellows to find food. “They are very cooperative with each other, and when they have a disagreement or must make a group decision, they have a lot of communication or ‘talk’ first,” Range said.  The same was not true for the center’s dog packs; for even the smallest transgression, a higher ranked dog “may react aggressively” toward one that is subordinate.

Range and Virányi suspect that the relationship between dogs and humans is hierarchical, with humans as top dogs, rather than cooperative, as in wolf packs. The notion of “dog-human cooperation” needs to be reconsidered, Range said, as well as “the hypotheses that domestication enhanced dogs’ cooperative abilities.” Instead, our ancestors bred dogs for obedience and dependency. “It’s not about having a common goal,” Range said. “It’s about being with us, but without conflict. We tell them something, and they obey.”

“It’s wonderful work,” says James Serpell, an ethologist at the University of Pennsylvania. “But it’s not what the dog training community wants to hear; you can’t say the word ‘dominance’ around them. Does dominance exist as a phenomenon in dogs? The answer is clearly ‘yes,’ ” Serpell says, although he notes that there are breed differences. Other researchers, for example, have shown that when in packs, poodles and Labrador retrievers are more aggressive than are malamutes and German shepherds.     

Monique Udell, an animal behaviorist at Oregon State University, Corvallis, says her own study of dog and wolf behavior, also presented at the meeting, supports Range’s contention that dogs are waiting for orders. To find out if dogs are “independent problem solvers,” she presented 20 adult dogs (10 pets and 10 from shelters) with sealed containers of summer sausage. Each animal was allotted 2 minutes to open it. Ten captive wolves were given the same test. Not one of the adult dogs succeeded; most did not even try. Meanwhile, eight of the 10 wolves opened the container in less than 2 minutes. So did dog puppies, indicating that dogs are no less capable of the task than wolves, but “as the dog grows and becomes more dependent on its human owner that [independent] behavior is inhibited,” Udell said.

Underscoring the point, she found that adult pooches could open the container after all—when their human owner told them to do so. Because dogs “suppress their independence, it’s difficult to know what their normal problem-solving abilities are,” she told the meeting.

It may be that we have to give Fido a command to find out.


methfoxes said:

Obviously you should avoid wolf encounters. I live in Alaska and you can go up to anyone and say "hey what about wolves". I always get different answers (one girl said run. She was joking but really, no) so I've decided to go to the expert. What do you do in case of an encounter with a single wolf and also a pair/pack of wolves? I know wolf encounters are rare in northern parts of Alaska (anchorage and northern cities) just because of the sheer size of the land but anything can happen yo

The reason why encounters with wild wolves are rare, is because wolves are extremely shy animals. Over time, wolves learned to see us as dangerous, and will avoid us at all costs. If you spot a wolf in the wild, it is most likely not aware of your presence. Most of the time they are aware of our presence first, instead of the other way around.

Thisis unlikely, but íf you would encounter a wolf in the wild that is acting agressive towards you and is not scared of encountering you, the following is best to do: don’t run or turn your back on them. Instead, stand your ground, make yourself as big and tall as possible and make as much noise as you can - scream, turn up loud music on your phone, anything. Throw stuff at them if possible. If they don’t go away, back away slowly. This goes for encountering a pack of wolves as well. If they attack and you can, climb into a tree. Otherwise curl up on the ground and cover your face and neck.

Again, the above is in the extreme and unlikely situation of wild wolves being agressive and unafraid towards humans. In most wolf encounter cases, the wolf will flee once it becomes aware of you, or will curiously observe you from a safe distance for a while, to then most likely loose interest and proceed whatever it was doing.

In case you’re in an enclosure: stand with your back to the fence, and move to the exit while keeping your back to the fence. Make sure you don’t trip.

When a human enters a place where wild wolves live who have not yet experienced encounters with humans, there is a change they will come and check you out when they have the feeling you are not a threat. In this case I mean really coming up close to sniff you and really check you out. If this ever happens to you (although this is a véry unlikely thing because as stated above, most wolves ‘know’ of humans and learned to avoid them and see them as dangerous), best thing to do is stay low to the ground and don’t make any eye contact. This makes it sound like they are very aggressive animals, but this is just purely to make sure to act in the most save way - better safe than sorry. Once they’ve discovered you are not a threat, they will most likely loose interest in you, leave you alone and no longer bother about you.