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Facebook Helps Researchers Discover That Sharks Have 'Friends' After All

Long considered "lonely hunters," at least one species of sharks, the blacktip reef shark, is inclined to mingle across a variety of social ties and relationships. Researchers were able to apply new insights from studies of the way Faceb

Are you on Fishbook yet? (jonrawlinson)
Are you on Fishbook yet? (jonrawlinson)
Stéphane Foucart

Ethologists tend to wave off attempts to classify animal behavior within the realm of human feelings. But it is hard to avoid talking about the concept of friendship after reading a study of the small blacktip reef shark published in the latest edition of the journal Animal Behaviour.

The paper, which examines the behavior of the shark species also known as carcharhinus melanopterus, was conducted by Johann Mourier and his colleagues at the Island Research Centre and Environmental Observatory (CNRS, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes). The team has discovered nothing less than the enigmatic existence of friendship links being forged in this marine species, which was thought to be devoid of social structure.

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 126: Russia Watching NATO, As Path Cleared For Finland And Sweden To Join

As NATO leaders meet in Madrid, Finland and Sweden look much closer to joining the alliance after Turkey dropped its objections to their membership. It's yet another momentous change underway since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

International leaders after having their photograph taken before the start of the NATO 2022

Anna Akage, Shaun Lavelle, and Emma Albright

A high-stakes NATO summit has kicked off in Madrid, as leaders of the world’s largest defense alliance discuss the war in Ukraine and key decisions that will shape the organization’s future direction. NATO Secretary-GeneralJens Stoltenberg said the Russian invasion of its neighbor had prompted a fundamental shift in its approach to defense.

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Finland and Sweden look much closer to joining the alliance after Turkey dropped its objections to their membership. The three countries released a joint memorandum that “extend[ed] their full support against threats to each other's security," FinnishPresident Sauli Niinistö said.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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