Agriculture
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Seeds of the Future
Silk’s superpowers
Amphibians
Newts
Frogs and Toads
Bullfrogs
Animals
Lives of a Mole Rat
New Mammals
Pothole Repair, Insect-style
Behavior
Monkeys in the Mirror
A Recipe for Happiness
A Light Delay
Birds
Kookaburras
Hummingbirds
Carnivorous Birds
Chemistry and Materials
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
Cooking Up Superhard Diamonds
Supersonic Splash
Computers
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Electronic Paper Turns a Page
Supersonic Splash
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino Flesh from Fossil Bone
Three strikes wiped out woolly mammoths
Dino-bite!
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Less Mixing Can Affect Lake's Ecosystem
Killer Space Rock Snuffed Out Ancient Life
Vitamin D-licious Mushrooms
Environment
Spotty Survival
Seabirds Deliver Arctic Pollutants
Plant Gas
Finding the Past
Preserving Ancient Warrior Paint
The Taming of the Cat
Prehistoric Trips to the Dentist
Fish
Hammerhead Sharks
Swordfish
Pygmy Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
Chew for Health
Strong Bones for Life
GSAT English Rules
Capitalization Rules
Order of Adjectives
Whoever vs. Whomever
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
Mastering The GSAT Exam
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
Play for Science
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
Human Body
Cell Phone Tattlers
Attacking Asthma
Cell Phones and Possible Health Hazards
Invertebrates
Mussels
Mosquitos
Millipedes
Mammals
Little Brown Bats
Giant Panda
Great Danes
Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
How children learn
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Invisibility Ring
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Dreams of Floating in Space
Plants
Fungus Hunt
Making the most of a meal
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Reptiles
Snakes
Rattlesnakes
Tortoises
Space and Astronomy
A Dead Star's Dusty Ring
Solving a Sedna Mystery
A Smashing Display
Technology and Engineering
Young Scientists Take Flight
Model Plane Flies the Atlantic
Bionic Bacteria
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Verb?
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Transportation
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Ready, unplug, drive
Flying the Hyper Skies
Weather
A Dire Shortage of Water
Arctic Melt
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Add your Article

Feeding School for Meerkats

Your teachers help you to learn math, spelling, and lots of other things. When you're done with all that, you might want to study your teachers, too. Scientists are interested in what makes teachers teach, and they're looking for clues throughout the animal kingdom. For example, researchers have found that certain types of ants teach each other where to find food (see "Professor Ant"). A new study suggests that meerkats also teach their young about food. "It's really important to understand simple forms of teaching if we're going to understand how human teaching evolved," says Alex Thornton of the University of Cambridge in England. Meerkats are furry little mammals that live in Africa and stand upright, like prairie dogs. You may have seen the cute creatures on the TV show "Meerkat Manor," which airs on Animal Planet. The stars of this show, along with other meerkat groups living in the Kalahari Desert, took part in experiments conducted by Thornton and coworker Katherine McAuliffe to see if meerkats show some form of teaching. For teaching to occur, a teacher must do something in front of students that the teacher wouldn't do if he or she were alone. Also, what the teacher does must cost the teacher something, not in money but in time or energy. Finally, students must learn more quickly from a teacher than they would by themselves. When pups join hunting groups, they make a lot of noise as they beg for food. In response, the adults catch lizards and other prey, and they give this food to their young. The scientists saw more than 2,000 examples of this behavior. Sometimes, the adults killed prey before giving it to their young. This guarantees that a pup gets an easy-to-eat meal. Other times, the adults delivered living prey, which has a greater chance of getting away. One of the study's findings was that adults give living prey to older pups 90 percent of the time. Younger pups get living prey only 65 percent of the time. This suggests that the adults are giving the pups more and more chances to learn to kill prey for themselves. If the prey escapes, the teacher will catch it again about a quarter of the time and bring it back so that the youngster can try again. The begging calls of the youngsters seem to affect the behavior of their teachers. When the scientists played the recorded squeaks of young pups during a hunting expedition, the adults killed more prey. When the scientists played the calls of older pups, the adults left more prey alive. In other words, these teachers seem to respond to the needs of their students. To see if the meerkats were really learning from the process, the researchers fed two groups of pups for 3 days. To one group of young, they gave live, stingless scorpions. The other group ate hard-boiled eggs. At the end of the experiment, all of the scorpion-trained pups were able to catch and kill a live scorpion by themselves. Only one-third of the egg-eaters managed to grab a scorpion. Practice certainly made a difference. You may not always like doing homework, but just be glad you don't have to eat scorpions to keep your grades up!—E. Sohn

Feeding School for Meerkats
Feeding School for Meerkats








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™