Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass the mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse The Private Life of Deer for
describing deer society, the life of urban deer,
and how they have adapted to humans.

The Private Life of Deer

The Private Life of Deer (2013) - 60 minutes
The Private Life of Deer at Amazon.com

Just a century ago, there were less than a million deer in North America. Today, there are nearly 30 million. No wonder it seems they're moving in right down the block. Nowhere are the deer more at home than in the suburbs. White-tailed deer live in the boundaries, where our backyards meet the backwoods, and the woodlands meet the roads. From our kitchen windows we spot them, nibbling away at our gardens and shrubs.

But how well do we know our neighbors from the natural world? Not very well at all, as it turns out.

New investigations into their world reveal a more complex society than we imagined. These are smart, adaptable creatures, with impressive skills, senses and family lives. Yet they have unexpected shortcomings. Their famous "deer in the headlights" immobility, for instance, is not caused by fear at all, but rather by bright light overpowering their visual cortex and locking down their brains for a period of up to several minutes. Also among these extraordinary creatures are some exceptional rarities, such as the tiny endangered Key deer that captivate the residents of the Florida Keys, and the spellbinding white ghost deer that roam the northern woods.

11-29-18 An acid found in soil may make a disease killing deer less infectious
The incurable neurodegenerative disease is crippling deer, elk and moose populations. An acid found in rich humus soil breaks down the misfolded brain proteins — called prions — that cause chronic wasting disease. When concentrations of humic acid similar to those found in soils were applied to diseased elk brain tissue, chemical signatures of the infectious prions were nearly erased, researchers report online November 29 in PLOS Pathogens. That suggests that the acid somehow degrades the warped protein, making it less infectious, says Judd Aiken, a prion disease researcher at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Chronic wasting disease, an incurable neurodegenerative disease, has devastated populations of deer, elk and moose across parts of North America, South Korea, Sweden and Norway. We know “that environmental sources of infectivity play a role in transmission of these diseases,” Aiken says. The twisted proteins lurk in the rotting carcasses, feces or saliva of infected animals, and eventually seep into soils. The infection spreads when deer graze in prion-contaminated areas. Previous studies have shown that soil mineralogy can influence the spread of prions, says Bryan Richards, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., who was not involved in the study. For example, prions easily bind to microscopic minerals such as quartz, kaolinite and montmorillonite, and can — as lab tests have revealed — stay locked in soil for years.

The Private Life of Deer

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse The Private Life of Deer for
describing deer society, the life of urban deer,
and how they have adapted to humans.