Be careful with human examples when teaching animal behavior

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You may or may not have heard of this weekend’s debacle from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (They promoted a paper using images of women appearing to have an orgasm. Though the paper was an ovulation experiment in rabbits. Do they have any women involved in the social media process over there? Yikes.)  I hold the new EIC in high regard, and I imagine she’ll get to the bottom of this. But it reminds me of a thing I’ve been meaning to address here for a while.

I suspect a lot of us are teaching animal behavior and behavioral ecology very badly, whenever it comes to our own species. Continue reading

Can stealing from your neighbor be a mutualism?

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Imagine that your neighbor sometimes goes into your house and takes some food out of your fridge. Sometimes you catch her, but you don’t get violent about it, you just push her out and tell her to not come back. But she keeps sneaking in.

Imagine that you’re also stealing food from your neighbors. Imagine that everybody in your neighborhood is stealing food from one another. Continue reading