When 2 1/2-year-old Rylee, a Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington kid, said she loved animals, we wanted to give her an unforgettable day at Woodland Park Zoo. Two weeks ago, Rylee arrived in a stretch limo, fed elephants Chai and Watoto, pet and fed the goats, pigs and bunnies, enjoyed a picnic and rode the carousel—and had a wonderful time sharing it all with her family. We’re so sorry to learn that Rylee has since passed. But we know that while we gave Rylee and her family the gift of nature, they gave us the gift of sharing one of Rylee’s last days with her. Go outside and play today—nature and time are gifts we should all treasure together. (Photo: Jessica Johnny Photography)
Biophilia is amazingly strong for all kids, and it’s simultaneously wonderful and heartbreaking that this was a little girl’s last wish.
Have you ever sworn you knew what your cat was thinking? You may have been right. It turns out we are more tuned into animals and their emotional status than we might think:
Animals have a special place in the human heart. Now, researchers are reporting that creatures great and small also have a special place in our heads.
A team led by researchers at Caltech has found individual brain cells that respond when a person sees an animal, but not when that person sees another person, a place, or an object.
The cells were found in the amygdala, an almond-shaped part of the brain involved in emotions, including fear. And they responded to any kind of animal, including spiders, dogs and rodents, says Christof Koch, a researcher at Caltech and the lead author of the study, published in Nature Neuroscience.
One reason present-day humans have these cells may be because some animals posed a threat to our ancestors, Koch says. Specialized cells could have helped the brain respond quickly to danger, he says.
I love the idea that urge to cuddle puppies comes from the amygdala, often referred to as the “lizard” part of our brain! It makes sense that as humans we’d survive better if we were more in tune with the animals in our surroundings and whether they wanted to eat us or not.
Awesome footage of chimpanzees using massive sticks and logs to knock down bee hives to get to the honey. I love the one guy who hammers the bee hive holding onto the branch with both his hand and foot.