biologist: A scientist involved in the study of living things.

cognitive: A term that relates to mental activities, such as thinking, learning, remembering and solving puzzles.

conservation biologist: A scientist who investigates ways to help preserve ecosystems and especially species that are in danger of extinction.

crest: (in zoology) A tuft of feathers or skin — or comb (as on a chicken) — atop the head of a bird or other animal.

culture: (n. in social science) The sum total of typical behaviors and social practices of a related group of people (such as a tribe or nation). Their culture includes their beliefs, values and the symbols that they accept and/or use. Culture is passed on from generation to generation through learning. Scientists once thought culture to be exclusive to humans. Now they recognize some other animals show signs of culture as well, including dolphins and primates.

element: A building block of some larger structure.

endangered: An adjective used to describe species at risk of going extinct.

forage: To search for something, especially food. It’s also a term for the food eaten by grazing animals, such as cattle and horses.

innovation: (v. to innovate; adj. innovative) An adaptation or improvement to an existing idea, process or product that is new, clever, more effective or more practical.

mating display: The activities that an animal undertakes to attract the attention of a potential mate and to display his (or her) potential appeal as a good protector, parent or forager. In some displays, a bird may fan open its tail feathers or dance in a way that exaggerates its size and ferociousness. Other times, an animal may sing or strut or bring gifts of food or environmental bling to the individual it is trying to impress.

palm: A type of evergreen tree that sprouts a crown of large fan-shaped leaves. Most of the roughly 2,600 different species of palms are tropical or semitropical.

plumage: A term for the collection of feathers covering a bird. A single large feather may be called a plume.

random: Something that occurs haphazardly or without reason, based on no intention or purpose. Or an adjective that describes some thing that found itself selected for no particular reason, or even chaotically.

society: An integrated group of people or animals that generally cooperate and support one another for the greater good of them all.

sophisticated: A term for something that is advanced, complex and/or elegant.

tool: An object that a person or other animal makes or obtains and then uses to carry out some purpose such as reaching food, defending itself or grooming.

veterinary: Having to do with animal medicine or health care.


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