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Stewards of the kelp forests: New research reveals how sea otters dramatically influence the climate

With their roly-poly bodies, child-like eyes, long whiskers and tiny padded paws, otters are some of the most charismatic animals in nature. But while being cute doesn’t serve much purpose in the wild, new research suggests these little furballs have been helping mitigate climate change.

A recent study in the journal PLOS Climate, led by researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, details how southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris) off the coast of California have helped kelp forests remain resilient to the impacts of climate change....

Originally posted on salon.com

Do animals feel shame or are they faking it? An expert unmasks what dogs and cats may really feel

Whether you’re a fan of dogs or not, chances are you’ve seen “dog shaming” online. It is the meme-able, viral trend of photographing one’s dog next to handwritten signs in which the pups “confess” to their real-life misdeeds. Such canine crimes include barking too loudly, biting strangers, eating remote controls, stealing cookies from children and peeing on a Virgin Mary statue....

Originally posted on salon.com

Is it ethical to eat octopuses? An acclaimed octopus expert and marine biologist weighs in

Whether grilled, on sushin or mixed into stir fry or ceviche, there are many ways to consume octopus. But given their well-known, almost human-like intelligence, it begs the question: is it ethical to eat eight-legged cephalopods?

“You can’t draw a sharp line of saying, ‘Well, I would eat a clam, but I never eat an octopus, and neither should anyone else,’ because there’s a continuum there.”

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Originally posted on salon.com