Sentience

Their apparent problem-solving ability has led cephalopods to be recognised as intelligent.

Do octopuses dream?

Scientists used to think that only mammals and birds experienced different sleep states. More recent research, however, has revealed some reptiles and cuttlefish -- another cephalopod and relative of the octopus -- show non-REM and REM-like sleep.

A new study has found that the octopus has ‘quiet’ and ‘active sleep’, with different episode duration and periodicity, and experiences active sleep after a long episode of quiet sleep.

A Matter of Sentience

Fish feel pain, or don’t they? Despite a growing body of sound evidence that fish do indeed feel pain and are sentient beings capable of all the types of cognition found in the “higher” mammals, with the possible sole exception of the ability to imitate, a group of critics seems to systematically seek to discredit this research. But for what reasons? Ila France Porcher takes a closer look at the stakes involved.

Sharks: Turning Fear into Love

A new style of shark dive has been developed by Jim Abernethy, of Scuba Adventures in Florida. In a dramatic demonstration that “shark huggers” are right, all his guests do with the sharks now is to stroke them! Jim was the pioneer who first demonstrated the peaceful way that sharks will interact with divers, especially when their curiosity has been aroused through the offer of a snack.

Sand Tiger Shark. Evidence of complex social behaviors in sharks and other elasmobranchs is sparse, however we are beginning to understand the importance of studying shark aggregations

Sand tiger sharks have a friendly side

While many sharks are solitary predators, some are known to live in groups and are suspected of engaging in complex social behaviors. Meanwhile others simply aggregate due to similar habitat, food, or mating requirements.

Using a novel tagging procedure, scientists in the United States, have discovered that some shark species like to spend their time mixing and chilling out together.

Observations made in 2006 and 2007 suggests that dolphins and whales may experience complex emotions once believed to be reserved for human beings such as deep grief at the death of a loved one

Do whales and dolphins grieve their dead?

A study by researchers from University of Milano-Bicocca describes observations of adults carrying dead calves and juveniles in 7 toothed cetaceans (odontocetes). The observation was based on 14 events from 3 oceans. The seven species studied were Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, Australian humpback dolphins, sperm whales, Risso’s dolphins, short-finned pilot whales, and spinner dolphins.

To Shark Dive or Not to Shark Dive

It was seven in the morning and my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. The dive guide was giving me a slightly more thorough dive briefing than normal. I wasn’t supposed to wear anything colorful or shiny, and black gloves and a hood were required. Also covered in black neoprene, he was putting on chainmail gloves and told me he’d have a pole with him. He said it was more for the potato cods though, not the sharks.