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Study says brain size of animals does matter

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New York: Animal brain size estimates its problem-solving ability, says a study.

Species with large brains were more successful than species with relatively small brains, the study revealed.

“The results of this study provides important support for the claim that brain size reflects an animal’s problem-solving abilities and enhances our understanding of why larger brains evolved in some species,” said Sarah-Benson-Amram, assistant professor at the University of Wyoming in the US.

Species that are more social or live in big social groups are not necessarily better problem-solvers than those that live alone, highlighted the study.

The study represented a step forward in understanding the evolution of problem-solving in mammalian carnivores, researchers revealed in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers tested 140 zoo animals from 39 mammalian carnivore species with a problem-solving task.

Animals such as river otters, wolves, bears, African wild dogs and cheetahs tried to open steel mesh “puzzle boxes” baited with food and adjusted to their body size.

The animals opened the puzzle box using a lever, and if they were successful, they received a food reward in the box.

Overall, 35 percent of animals successfully solved the puzzle, with bears as the most triumphant at completing the task 70 percent of the time. Meerkats and mongooses were the least successful.

Although these species also differed in body size, it was their brain size relative to how big they were that primarily influenced whether they solved the puzzle.

Variables such as the social group size for animals, their manual dexterity or work effort failed to predict success at opening the boxes, the study showed.(IANS)

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Spending Some Time with Any Animal or Pet Can Help Reduce Stress

Why cow? Any animal can help you remain stress free

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pets
Pets give us the love and support we need to help cope with psychological conditions.

Not just the cow but spending some time with any animal or pet at home can keep you calm and relaxed, say doctors.

Reacting to Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s comment that rubbing a cow, from the back towards the neck, can cure your blood pressure, Dr B.M. Doda, senior physician at Walia Nursing and Maternity Home in Delhi, said that any pet can calm you and, may be, keep your blood pressure in check.

“There is nothing special about cows as spending quality time with any animal will keep your stress-free,” Doda told IANS.

Several studies have suggested in the past that when we live in a constant state of fight-or-flight from ongoing stress at work and the frenetic pace of modern life, physical changes take their toll on our bodies, including raising our risk of heart disease and other dangerous conditions.

Animals can serve as a source of comfort and support. Contact with pets seems to counter this stress response by lowering stress hormones and heart rate.

According to the latest research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, people who have a pet have healthier hearts, are homesick less often and make fewer visits to the doctor.

“Relations with pets tend to be less complicated than those with humans, and pets are often a source of great enjoyment. Pixabay

How do animals help? One study says that pets boost our oxytocin levels.

The “bonding hormone” enhances social skills, decreases blood pressure and heart rate, boosts immune function and raises tolerance for pain. It also lowers stress, anger and depression.

Twitter users, however, slammed Thakur’s other claim that she was a cancer patient and was cured after she consumed cow’s urine along with “panchgavya” mixed with ayurvedic herbs.

Also Read- Fixing Algorithms Won’t Curb Fake News on Social Media

“I’m a doctor too. And no, stroking a cow won’t relieve high blood pressure. And cancer? Certainly not. Believing in one’s culture isn’t about talking senselessly,” tweeted a Twitter user that goes by the name of @shreyaamishra07.

“No amount of belief can excuse the kind of unverified, non-scientific claims that Sadhvi Pragya is propagating as a cure for cancer,” tweeted @tapasya_s.

The crux of the matter is, when it comes to living life stress-free, keep a pet at home as you do not have to specially visit a gaushala for that. (IANS)