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Universal ‘code’ connects humans and animals - study
Researchers found there might be a universal code for the perception of emotion of animals.
Researchers suggest acoustic emotions exist across all vertebrates

Humans can identify emotions in the voices of all air-breathing vertebrates, a new study has found.

Writing in the journal Proceeding of the Royal Society B, researchers show there might be a universal code for the vocal expression and perception of emotions of animals.

Previous work found that humans can identify emotions in the voices of different mammals. In this new study, researchers expanded the results to include amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

The study was conducted by researchers at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from Alberta, Canada, and Vienna, Austria.

“The findings suggest that fundamental mechanisms for the acoustic expression of emotions exist across all classes of vertebrates,” the authors conclude. “The evolutionary roots of this signal system might be shared by all vocalising vertebrates.

They continue: “This finding goes in the direction of what Charles Darwin suggested more than a century ago, namely that acoustic expressions of emotion can be traced back to our earliest land-dwelling ancestors.”

In the study, researchers employed 75 individuals whose native language was English, German or Mandarin. The participants listened to audio recordings on nine different species of land-living vertebrates in the classes mammals, amphibians and reptiles. The latter group included birds and other reptiles.

Participants were able to differentiate between high and low levels of arousal in the acoustic signals of all animal classes. To do this, they mainly relied on frequency-related parameters in the signals. 

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Practices urged to support #vets4vultures

News Story 1
 Veterinary professionals are being urged to take part in the #vets4vultures online fundraising campaign. Vultures are persecuted throughout the world and numbers of some species have fallen by 99.9 per cent in recent years. Wildlife Vets International rescue and rehabilitate the birds of prey, as well as training local vets. However, the charity needs to raise £18,000 for its conservation plans to go ahead next year.

It has been selected for The Big Christmas Give Challenge, which goes live on 28 November. To help practices encourage clients to get involved, there is an online promotional pack containing resources for websites and social media platforms.

For more information emailinfo@wildlifevetsinternational  

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Avian flu text alert service launched in Northern Ireland

A new text system to alert bird keepers to the threat of avian flu has been launched in Northern Ireland. The service will enable bird keepers to take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.

Keepers who have already provided NI's Department of Agriculture with a valid mobile number have automatically been subscribed to the service and notified by text. Bird keepers who have not yet received a text should text ‘BIRDS’ to 67300 to register.