Yes, your cat can smile at you — and other good news you may have missed
Cats can smile and giraffes can (possibly?) use statistical reasoning — meaning our animal friends might be more like us than we think. Read on for more on that and other good news you may have missed this week from Yahoo News partners.
Yes, your cat can smile at you — just not the way you’d expect
You may have heard that your dog can smile at you, but how do cats express happiness? USA Today decided to find out.
Marci Koski, a feline behavior and training consultant, said that you’re unlikely to get a good-natured toothy grin from your feline friend. Cats tend to show their teeth only when they feel threatened or are trying to defend themselves — so if your cat is showing its teeth, back off.
And unlike humans, Koski said, cats don’t use all the muscles in their face to express a broad range of emotions.
“Cats don’t have that range of facial expressions,” Koski explained. “They evolved in an area or areas that were relatively resource-limited, so their territories were very large and close-up interactions between cats were fairly limited.”
Instead, cats smile with their eyes “by narrowing their eyes, shutting them partly or completely,” sometimes with dilated pupils. Their body language is also a major cue that they’re feeling relaxed, and a happy kitty will lie on its side with an exposed tummy, ready for belly rubs.
Dolphins saved off Massachusetts coast after swimming close to shore
Rescue teams with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) helped a group of dolphins return to the ocean this week after getting stuck in shallow water off the coast of Massachusetts, ABC News reported.
On Monday, rescue teams received reports of nine Atlantic white-sided dolphins swimming in the shallow waters of Wellfleet Harbor, which is on the east side of Cape Cod Bay. Eight dolphins were rescued, while the ninth was able to swim off shortly after rescue teams arrived.
At least one of the eight dolphins rescued then returned to shore again on Tuesday. After assessing, treating and tracking the dolphin, rescue teams used kayaks to herd it before transporting it to deeper water.
Later, another dolphin — which ABC News says was presumed to be the dolphin that swam away on Monday — was found close to shore again near Wellfleet Harbor. It was assessed and treated before being transported to a release site.
IFAW says the 12 miles along the shores of Cape Cod is a hot spot for dolphin and whale strandings, where dolphins are stranded more frequently than anywhere else in the world. Nearly 80% of stranded dolphins are able to be released back into the wild, thanks in part to “revolutionized” field health assessments and treatment.
Giraffes can make predictions based on statistics, study suggests
A small study published on Thursday suggests that giraffes might be smarter than you think. In fact, they may have the ability to make predictions based on statistics, just like humans, PA Media reported.
The study found that four giraffes at the Barcelona Zoo in Spain could calculate the odds of getting their preferred treat from a handler in 17 out 20 experiments “based on the relative frequencies of food in the containers, and not on other information such as their sense of smell.”
Previously, only larger-brained animals such as primates were believed to have this reasoning ability, but the study suggests that giraffes “may have more sophisticated statistical abilities than previously thought."
“The results of the study suggest that large relative brain sizes are not a necessary prerequisite for the evolution of complex statistical skills,” said study co-author Alvaro L. Caicoya, a doctoral student at the University of Barcelona.
104-year-old great-grandma shares tips for a long, happy life
Staten Island, N.Y., resident Antoinette Inserra celebrated her 104th birthday on April 21 and recently shared her top tips with "Today" for staying happy and healthy to a ripe old age.
Inserra, who has four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, said she eats a balanced diet that includes her favorite vegetable — spinach — as well as a daily glass of beer. She’s a big fan of shopping and gambling, and loves getting out of the house with the help of her daughter and trusty walker.
"She got to see my son get married, which we didn't think she would. She had COVID twice, and she survived,” Inserra’s daughter, Phyllis Scotto, told "Today." “And then she got to see [my son] have his first baby. So it's been quite an accomplishment she's made. She surprises everybody.”
When faced with challenges, Inserra says to “just let it go” and “do what you can.”
And her happiness advice?
"I just say look nice and make nice friends,” Inserra said. “Be nice to them, and you'll have good friends. That's the way I look at it."