Tuesday December 10, 2019
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Want To Know If Your Dog Is Happy Or Not? Find It Out Here

Your experience will help you find out about how your dog feels

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If you know when your dog is sad or happy, the credit goes to your experience. Pixabay

If you know when your dog is sad or happy, the credit goes to your experience and learning, not an innate ability to read the facial expression of your “best friend”, suggests new research.

While some dog emotions can be recognised from early on, the ability to reliably recognise dog emotions is mainly acquired through age and experience, said the study.

The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the probability of recognising dog emotions was higher for participants who grew up in a cultural context with a positive attitude towards dogs, regardless of whether they owned a dog themselves.

“These results are noteworthy, because they suggest that it is not necessarily direct experience with dogs that affects humans’ ability to recognise their emotions, but rather the cultural milieu in which humans develop,” said study lead author Federica Amici from the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

In order to test how well humans can understand the emotions behind dog facial expressions, the researchers collected photographs of dogs, chimpanzees, and humans displaying either happy, sad, angry, neutral, or fearful emotions as substantiated by the photographers.

They then recruited 89 adult participants and 77 child participants and categorised them according to their age, the dog-positivity of their cultural context and the participants’ personal history of dog ownership.

Each participant was presented with photographs of dogs, chimps and humans and asked to rate how much the individual in the picture displayed happiness, sadness, anger, or fear.

Adults were also asked to determine the context in which the picture had been taken (e.g., playing with a trusted conspecific partner; directly before attacking a conspecific).

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A test was conducted to know how well humans can understand the emotions behind dog facial expressions. Pixabay

The results of the study showed that, while some dog emotions can be recognised from early on, the ability to reliably recognise dog emotions is mainly acquired through age and experience.

In adults, the probability of recognising dog emotions was higher for participants who grew up in a cultural context with a positive attitude towards dogs, regardless of whether they owned a dog themselves.

A dog-positive cultural background, one in which dogs are closely integrated into human life and considered highly important, may result in a higher level of passive exposure and increased inclination and interest in dogs, making humans better at recognising dogs’ emotions even without a history of personal dog ownership.

The researchers also found that regardless of age or experience with dogs, all participants were able to identify anger and happiness reliably.

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While these results may suggest an innate ability favoured by the co-domestication hypothesis, it is also possible that humans learn to recognise these emotions quickly, even with limited exposure.

Other than anger and happiness,the children in the study were not good at identifying dog emotions, the study said. (IANS)

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Oxygen Loss from Oceans Dangerous for Aquatic Species: IUCN Report

Ocean oxygen loss threatens aquatic species

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The deoxygenation in oceans is proved to be threatening for aquatic species. Pixabay

BY VISHAL GULATI

The loss of oxygen from the world’s oceans is increasingly threatening fish species and disrupting ecosystems, a new IUCN report warned.

Ocean oxygen loss, driven by climate change and nutrient pollution, is a growing menace to fisheries and species such as tuna, marlin and sharks, said the report, presented at the ongoing UN climate change conference (COP25) in this Spanish capital on Saturday.

“With this report, the scale of damage climate change is wreaking upon the ocean comes into stark focus. As the warming ocean loses oxygen, the delicate balance of marine life is thrown into disarray,” IUCN Acting Director General Grethel Aguilar said.

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The oxygen loss from oceans is a growing menace to fisheries and other aquatic species. Pixabay

“The potentially dire effects on fisheries and vulnerable coastal communities mean that the decisions made at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference are even more crucial. To curb ocean oxygen loss alongside the other disastrous impacts of climate change, world leaders must commit to immediate and substantial emission cuts.”

The review report, “Ocean deoxygenation: Everyone’s problem”, is the largest peer-reviewed study so far into the causes, impacts and possible solutions to ocean deoxygenation.

Ocean regions with low oxygen concentrations are expanding, with around 700 sites worldwide now affected by low oxygen conditions — up from only 45 in the 1960s.

In the same period, the volume of anoxic waters — areas completely depleted of oxygen — in the global ocean has quadrupled, according to the report.

“We are now seeing increasingly low levels of dissolved oxygen across large areas of the open ocean. This is perhaps the ultimate wake-up call from the uncontrolled experiment humanity is unleashing on the world’s ocean as carbon emissions continue to increase,” said Dan Laffoley, Senior Advisor Marine Science and Conservation in IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme and a co-editor of the report.

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Oxygen depletion in oceans is menacing marine ecosystems. Pixabay

“Ocean oxygen depletion is menacing marine ecosystems already under stress from ocean warming and acidification. To stop the worrying expansion of oxygen-poor areas, we need to decisively curb greenhouse gas emissions as well as nutrient pollution from agriculture and other sources.”

Deoxygenation is starting to alter the balance of marine life, favouring low-oxygen tolerant species (e.g. microbes, jellyfish and some squid) at the expense of low-oxygen sensitive ones (many marine species, including most fish).

Some of the oceans’ most productive biomes, which support one fifth of the world’s wild marine fish harvest, are formed by ocean currents carrying nutrient-rich but oxygen-poor water to coasts that line the eastern edges of the world’s ocean basins.

Species groups such as tuna, marlin and sharks are particularly sensitive to low oxygen because of their large size and energy demands.

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These species are starting to be driven into increasingly shallow surface layers of oxygen-rich water, making them more vulnerable to overfishing. (IANS)