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Chimps bond after watching films together - study
Chimpanzees who watch films together bond in a similar way to humans.

Bonding through shared experience may have deep evolutionary roots

Chimpanzees who watch films together bond in a similar way to humans, according to new research.

Until now, scientists believed that connecting with others was a uniquely human experience. But new research led by Duke University has revealed that apes are also able to create social closeness by participating in group activities.

In the study, chimpanzees, bonobos and humans were put into pairs and shown a short film. The film was of a young chimpanzee playing with its family - footage shown by previous research to capture the attention of great apes.

Each participant sat in a booth and looked through a screen towards a PC showing the video. An eye tracker was used to check the participants were watching the film while a tube filled with grape juice encouraged them to sit still. Once settled, the experimenter could enter the room.

After the film, the team measured how long the participants spent in each others proximity and the time engaged in interactive behaviours. They found that both chimpanzees and bonobos approached their partner faster after having watched a video with them.

'Our results suggest that one of the most basic mechanisms of human social bonding—feeling closer to those with whom we act or attend together—is present in both humans and great apes, and thus has deeper evolutionary roots than previously suspected,' the researchers conclude.

The study, Visually attending to a video together facilitates great ape social closeness, is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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Cats Protection launches Christmas animation

News Story 1
 Leading feline charity Cats Protection has launched a heartwarming Christmas animation to raise awareness of the important work it does. The animation is based on a true story of a kitten that went missing earlier this year. Freezing cold and hungry, the kitten was dumped in a box on a roadside and somehow became separated from her brother and sisters.

Thankfully there is a happy end to this tail, and Libby - now named Misty - was eventually reunited with her littermates. Misty’s owner, Amy Smith, said: “Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.” 

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WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.