DEC 19, 2017 5:07 AM PST

Can a robot spy dog integrate with real wild dogs?


This video shows perhaps the most up-close and personal footage of wild dogs in the wild that has ever been captured. But how did we snag these images? Wild dogs are carnivorous mammals that live throughout Africa but their numbers are dwindling due to habitat degradation, hunting, and disease. The species is listed as endangered in the IUCN red list. Though true to their name, they are canines, wild dogs differ in anatomy from other dogs in that they have 4 toes per pad instead of 5. They also have tall rounded ears and mottled fur, to which it's Latin name, Lycaon pictus (painted wolf), refers.

Wild dogs are special in their pack behavior. The canines often hunt in groups of 6-20 or more animals and share their victory meat with all individuals in the pack. Scientists have even observed that the hunters will share the pickings with sick or weak members of the pack. Adults dogs are also known to regurgitate meat for pups in the pack. But much is still unknown about wild dogs and conservationists are on a mission to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible, due to their decreasing populations.

Enter spy pup, a robot wild dog pup with 24 moving parts that looks, acts, (and okay, maybe doesn't smell) like a real wild dog pup. The robot, a part of PBS' Spy in the Wild, is intended to gather more information on pup dynamics of wild dog packs. That is, of course, if the animals accept it. Watch the movie to find out how spy pup does!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 17, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 17, 2019
Want a Cozy Fireplace on Your Screen? How About This One with Chemistry Trivia?
Have you ever wondered: underneath the evident smoky smell, what makes up other subtle aromas of a burning fire log?  A diverse group of aromatic (in...
DEC 22, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 22, 2019
Boeing Launches Botched Starliner Demo Mission for NASA
Boeing finally moved forward with the initial un-crewed test launch of its Starliner Commercial Crew spacecraft for NASA at the end of this past week follo...
JAN 09, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 09, 2020
Australian Bushfire Update
Devastating wildfires continue to ravage the continent of Australia. The report from BBC News below, which aired earlier this week, gives an encompassing u...
JAN 25, 2020
Neuroscience
JAN 25, 2020
Are You Still Working on Your New Year's Resolution?
There are a few cardinal rules when it comes to goal-setting, and you've probably heard them all before. Goals will be successful if they are specific-...
JAN 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 27, 2020
How Dangerous is Radiation on Mars?
One of humankind’s most ambitious goals for the next decade is preparing to send astronauts to Mars for the very first time. Such a feat is projected...
FEB 18, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 18, 2020
This Wasp Turns Cockroaches Into Zombies for its Larvae
We can’t think of anyone that likes cockroaches, but one insect in particular seems to scout them out specifically for its own bizarre reasons. The e...
Loading Comments...