Two adult bottlenose dolphins and one calf swim close to a sandy seafloor that’s dotted with coral.
Study Suggests Dolphins Use Coral Mucus as Medicine
Researchers observe that dolphins in a pod in the Red Sea regularly rub against certain corals and sponges, perhaps to sooth their skin by prompting the invertebrates to release mucus that contains antimicrobial compounds.
ABOVE: ANGELA ZILTENER
Study Suggests Dolphins Use Coral Mucus as Medicine
Study Suggests Dolphins Use Coral Mucus as Medicine

Researchers observe that dolphins in a pod in the Red Sea regularly rub against certain corals and sponges, perhaps to sooth their skin by prompting the invertebrates to release mucus that contains antimicrobial compounds.

Researchers observe that dolphins in a pod in the Red Sea regularly rub against certain corals and sponges, perhaps to sooth their skin by prompting the invertebrates to release mucus that contains antimicrobial compounds.

ABOVE: ANGELA ZILTENER

animal behavior

Two bonobos facing each other on a tree branch
Q&A: In Battle of the Sexes, Dominance Doesn’t Always Equal Power
Raegan Scharfetter | May 18, 2022
The Scientist spoke to hyena researcher Eve Davidian for a broad look at power relationships between male and female mammals.
brown spotted octopus blending in with its background
Steroids May Explain Octopuses’ Self-Starvation
Andy Carstens | May 16, 2022
Two glands increase steroid production after female California two-spot octopuses mate, a study finds. Those hormones may be responsible for the animals’ self-destructive behavior.
An illustration showing a scale weighing two double-stranded pieces of DNA that has a big question mark in the center.
Mouse Foraging Behavior Shaped by Opposite-Sex Parent’s Genes
Dan Robitzski | Apr 12, 2022
A study in mice finds that for certain genes, one parent’s allele can dominate expression and shape behavior—and which parent’s allele does so varies throughout the body.
Photo of a Dwarf mongoose
Dwarf Mongooses Shun Bullies to Manage Conflict: Study
Mary Bates | Apr 4, 2022
These social animals keep tabs on aggressive members of the group and groom them less after fights to punish them.
Vole in a meadow
Voles Trim Tall Grass to Prevent Attacks
Natalia Mesa | Mar 14, 2022
Mongolian rodents join the ranks of earthworms and beavers as known ecosystem engineers.
Equid burial from Umm el-Marra, Syria
Caught on Camera
The Scientist Staff | Mar 14, 2022
Selected images from the-scientist.com
an Australian magpie stares down the camera
Altruism in Birds? Magpies Have Outwitted Scientists by Helping Each Other Remove Tracking Devices
Dominique Potvin | Feb 22, 2022
It was the first time a bird has removed a tracking device, and the second time a bird species showed cooperative “rescue” behavior.
One chimpanzee grooming another on its chin
Chimps Appear to Treat Others' Wounds Using Insects
Natalia Mesa | Feb 7, 2022
The practice, which hasn’t been previously observed among nonhuman animals, may be a display of empathy. 
Variety of sweeteners - Stevia, sugar, pollen and honey stock photo
How the Gut Differentiates Artificial Sweeteners from Sugars
Chloe Tenn | Jan 21, 2022
Signals from sweeteners and sugars are relayed from the gut to the brain by different neural pathways, a new study concludes.
Photo of Roxanne Beltran
Roxanne Beltran Dives into Seal Research
Lisa Winter | Jan 17, 2022
This University of California, Santa Cruz, biologist is dedicated to her marine mammal research, as well as to making the field more diverse and equitable.
Photo of krill and plankton in the sea, macro detail
Fear Could Help Explain the Behavior of Animals in the Ocean
Catherine Offord | Jan 4, 2022
Avoidance of predation is a driving force behind the daily movements of marine creatures across the food web, a study concludes.
a microscope image of mouse fur
Some Mammals May Use Specialized Hairs to Detect Predators’ Heat
Amanda Heidt | Dec 16, 2021
When observed under a microscope, guard hairs from mice resemble optical sensors used in thermal cameras to detect heat, according to a new study.
Cute sleeping newborn baby child on mother hands stock photo
Exposure to Chemical from Babies Linked to Aggression
Chloe Tenn | Nov 22, 2021
A study finds that the odorless compound hexadecanal, or HEX, increases aggressive behavior in women but has a calming effect on men.
snake eating another snake
Male Snakes Cannibalizing Females Present Evolutionary Puzzle
Chloe Tenn | Nov 15, 2021
The Scientist speaks with organismal biologist Xavier Glaudas about possible reasons for his recent finding that male Montpellier snakes cannibalize female conspecifics.
Illustration showing how seagull chicks know when predators are lurking
Infographic: Animal Embryos Coopt Sound to Survive and Thrive
Amanda Heidt | Nov 1, 2021
Across the tree of life, animals use sound and other vibrations to glean valuable sensory information about their environments even before they are born.
3D rendered illustration of a brain with signal waves in background to show the concept of consciousness
Book Excerpt from Feeling & Knowing
Antonio Damasio | Nov 1, 2021
In Chapter 1, “On Being,” author Antonio Damasio outlines the dawn of consciousness.
Rendering of an iceberg
Opinion: Being, Feeling, and Knowing: Our Path to Consciousness
Antonio Damasio | Nov 1, 2021
The idea that minds and consciousness might be generated by the nervous system alone is false.
Conceptual image of an embryo with sound waves
Embryonic Eavesdropping: How Animals Hear and Respond to Sound
Amanda Heidt | Nov 1, 2021
Recent findings buck the traditional idea that embryos are passive agents and instead suggest that by tuning into vibrations, organisms can better prepare to enter the outside world.
ABOVE: A pair of Labroides dimidiatus cleaner fish cleaning a puffer fish
Cleaner Fish Alter Behavior if Partners Can See Them “Cheating”
Chloe Tenn | Oct 7, 2021
A study of feeding behavior suggests the fish feed differently in front of their partners—a behavioral feature also found in primates.