Weird Science: Dogs Love Reggae & Beware of a Real-Life Animal Farm

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Weird Science: Dogs Love Reggae & Beware of a Real-Life <i>Animal Farm</i>

This Week in Weird Science: Researchers out of Glasgow have found that dogs like jamming to Bob Marley and Seals and Croft. Pigs are currently overtaking North American ecosystems, which means the world should be wary of another Animal Farm scenario. And, finally, men have been suffering from prostate stones for 12,000-years and scientists still haven’t found a way to ease the pain.


Dogs love reggae

Dogs appear to prefer reggae, soft rock, and Toto’s “Africa” over other genres of music, according to a study.

The researchers out of the Scottish SCPA and University of Glasgow tracked dogs’ behavioral and psychological changes when presented with various types of music—pop, MoTown, soft rock, classical, reggae, the fixings.

Turns out: Dogs dig reggae and soft rock, which also means canines probably hated “Who Let the Dogs Out” more than most. Professor Neil Evans, leader of the study, noted that, while listening to these two genres, the dogs showed the most positive behavior changes.

But just because your pup likes some Bob Marley doesn’t mean it can’t handle the sultry soul of Etta James. Professor Evans said, in a statement to the BBC, “Overall, the response to different genres was mixed highlighting the possibility that like humans, our canine friends have their own individual music preferences.”

The research crew also noticed that dogs were more likely to be lying down while any genre of music was playing, which is sort of like saying, “People tend to be sitting when watching TV.” It doesn’t mean much.

Thankfully, though, now man can rest assured knowing his best friend would rather jam to “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Croft than whatever “Bad and Boujee” is.


Wild pigs are destroying North American ecosystems

This little piggy went to the market. This little piggy stayed home. And 6 million little piggies are currently destroying North American ecosystems, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE.

“Feral swine cause major damage to property, agriculture (crops and livestock), native species and ecosystems, and cultural and historic resources,” said Gail Keirn, a public affairs specialist with the National Wildlife Research Center, in a report with PLOS One, “This invasive species also threatens the health of people, wildlife, pets, and other domestic animals.”

According to a report in the Journal of Applied Ecology, the U.S. spends $1.5 billion each year to repair and prevent damage done by wild pigs.

“As feral swine populations continue to expand across the country, these damages, costs, and risks will only keep rising,” said Keirn.

It’s estimated that 6 million invasive wild pigs, in thirty-five states, inhabit the U.S., and researchers say that number is likely to increase as wild pig populations continue spreading across the United States. More alarmingly, the team of scientists found the wild pigs have been moving northward at 4 to 8 miles per year, predicting, in thirty years, wild pigs could be found living in every country, in every state, in the country. Maybe we shouldn’t worry about a planet of the apes but rather a planet of the pigs, especially because, if writer George Orwell taught the world anything about pigs, it’s that they’re Stalinists.


Men have been suffering from prostate stones for pretty much ever

When archaeologists found three walnut-sized stones inside a 12,000-year-old prehistoric man at Al Khiday, a pre-Mesolithic graveyard in modern-day Sudan, they thought that rocks had somehow rolled into the gravesite. What they didn’t think was that these “rocks” were actually ridiculously large prostate stones, which likely agonized this poor prehistoric man until his death.

This discovery, unearthed by a team led by Donatella Usai and Sandro Salvatori at the Center for Sudanese and sub-Saharan studies in Treviso, Italy, is believed to be the oldest prostatic stones.

The team investigated some 900 square-miles in the prehistoric cemetery, recovered 190 graves, with burials dating from as early as 12,000-year-ago to 2,000-years-ago. The oldest graves included 94 individuals, including the man affected by prostate stones, from the pre-Mesolithic era.

A team of British and Italian researchers found the culprits inside the pelvic area of one unfortunate adult male. Initially, the team thought the stone was somehow kicked into the gravesite, but, upon investigating the origin of the stones, analysis showed the stones consist of mineral whitlock—a type of calcium phosphate common in prostatic stones. The researchers also identified bacterial imprints on the stones, suggesting “ an ongoing infectious process” during his lifetime.

Among the 190 graves at Al Khiday, the researchers found no other traces of significant illnesses. Oddly enough, the people there appear to have been tall and robust—probably making damn-good basketball players if they were born in another time.

Top photo by Bruno Henrique Baruta Barreto CC BY 2.0

Tommy Burson is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen San Diego but with more sunscreen and jorts.