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Four lessons we can learn from ‘lazy’ animals

For more than 30 days, people in a northern Montenegro village have been lying down in the streets. It’s part of their annual “Laziest Citizen” contest that was created 12 years ago to mock the theory that Montenegrins are among the laziest humans on the planet. But maybe emulating the behavior of a sloth isn’t as bad as we think. In contrast to our fast-paced, high-stress human lives, there are plenty of animals that lead a much slower existence and still manage to survive and thrive.

Lesson #3: Make like a bear and take the easy route

Charles Robbins at the WSU Bear Center.
Charles Robbins at the WSU Bear Center.

If you’ve ever crossed paths with a bear, there may be a reason for that. Turns out they like to take the easy route — just like we do! A recent study explored the movements of grizzly bears and found that these massive mammals prefer to avoid steep hills and overexertion, which often leads them to the human-built trails found in parks. But this doesn’t necessarily mean they are lazy. “They are not lazy in the sense that we use that term,” Charles Robbins, a professor at the Washington State University Bear Center who oversaw the study, tells Yahoo Life. “Their goal in food-limited environments is to be energy efficient, which means to take the lowest-cost path, forage as efficiently as possible and conserve as much energy as possible.”

The study also found that bears move at a slower pace than researchers expected. “Most animals do move at the most efficient speed to minimize cost per unit time and distance. Just watch humans walking, and you’ll notice that most of us walk at a relatively narrow range of speeds,” explains Robbins. “We found that grizzly bears don’t move as fast as they should based on that assumption.”

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Yahoo! Life

CAS in the media: November 2, 2012

Elections and politics

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