In a scientific tie-in to the new Pixar film "Ratatouille"(do scientists do this on purpose?) lab humans observing lab rats have determined that rats who've been helped in the past "pay it forward." This is, they claim, the first proof of "indirect reciprocity" in non-humans. In other words, rats that were helped in the past are more likely to help a stranger in the future. The report was published in PLoS Biology, an online open access journal (the same place I found the stuff about fruitflies having free will--what a gold mine that site is).
"In this study, Norway rats received help gaining food from a partner who pulled a stick to produce the food. Rats could therefore be grouped into two classes: those that had previously received help and those that had not. The rats who had previously been helped were then more likely to help another unknown partner receive food. This simple mechanism may promote the evolution of cooperation among unfamiliar non-relatives in many other animals."
Or, it could just prove that Norweigian rats are good people.
And on the animal theme...
HE'S A BEAST, AND YOU LOVE HIM
The people trying to make you buy more Softlips Lip Balm have done a study on how often we kiss things. Here's what I found interesting: 37% of us are willing to greet an immediate family member with a kiss (only 37%? geez), but 45% of women are willing to kiss the dog! On the other hand, only 27% of men will kiss the pet. Unless, of course, it's a Norwegian rat.