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Yes, Virginia, There Is a Vampire Bat Santa

Plenty of nonhuman species give each other gifts. Here's a holiday selection

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OTHER ANIMAL GIVERS?

Our list of gift-giving creatures is by no means comprehensive—if there are any generosity-prone species you would like to add to our list, please list them in the comments below. We would also love to hear any accounts of animal altruism that you have witnessed. Send them to submit@sciam.com . ....[ More ]

PAYING IT FORWARD:

A human outpouring of generosity to complete strangers was in evidence this season, as mystery donors stepped forward to pay off Kmart customers' layaway balances .  The same spirit of giving cropped up in a 2007 study of rats, which found that rodents who were helped by a stranger to obtain food (the helper rat pulled a stick to release the treats) were themselves more likely to help another unknown rat  gain food.....[ More ]

SHARING THE WEALTH:

Bonobos will voluntarily offer their food to neighbors by unlocking a door between cages to share a meal, Duke University researchers found .....[ More ]

BLOOD BUDDIES:

Long before nurturing, caring vampires became a TV and cinema sensation, scientists were exploring similar traits in vampire bats—specifically, their altruistic tendency to share blood with roost mates .....[ More ]

STINGY SPIDERS:

Sometimes his gifts are for real, but sometimes the male nursery spider acts as a mix of scrooge and Svengali , presenting the object of his desire with silk-wrapped gifts that are duds—inedible seeds or already-eaten carcasses.....[ More ]

WHAT THE CAT DRAGGED IN:

Domesticated felines are among those rarest of creatures that gift outside of their species . That mouse dropped on your doorstep is likely your cat's way of taking care of you—hunting for you because you just do not seem to be able to hunt for yourself.....[ More ]

THE MORE YOU GIVE:

The male scorpion fly lures his mate with salivary masses she consumes during mating. He has to keep giving at a steady pace , however; otherwise, the party's over, and his chances of fertilizing a larger proportion of her eggs plummet. ....[ More ]

GIFT EXCHANGERS:

A 2009 study of primates tested their ability to give tokens that had no value to them but that their partners could exchange for food. The orangutans so far outstripped chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas in gifting the tokens directly to each other (as opposed to passively dropping them in their partners' cages).....[ More ]

BECAUSE HE CARES?

In many species of birds, the male presents gifts of food to the female during courtship. But a 1998 Brock University and McMaster University study of common tern courtship feeding seems to suggest that gifts don't necessarily correlate with copulation—perhaps a sign of a more nurturing relationship.....[ More ]

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