Dogs give friends food – Familiarity promotes prosocial behaviour

16.12.2015: A readiness to help and a positive attitude toward others are considered foundations of human relationships and human cooperation. But not only humans cooperate and support each other, animals do so, too. A group of ethologists from the Messerli Research Institute at the Vetmeduni Vienna have shown for the first time that dogs also behave prosocially toward conspecifics – provided that they know the other dog. The results were published in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

Full press release "Dogs give friends food – Familiarity promotes prosocial behaviour" [Link 1]

The article „Familiarity affects other-regarding preferences in pet dogs“, by Mylene Quervel-Chaumette, Rachel Dale, Sarah Marshall-Pescini and Friederike Range was published in Nature’s Scientific Reports.
 [Link 2]




Talks by researchers in the field of Comparative Cognition at the famous Ettore Majorana Centre for Scientific Culture in Erice (Siciliy)

Several employees of the Unit of Comparative Cognition of the Messerli Research Institute held keynote lectures at a symposium from 16 to 21 November 2015 relating to the topic "Social Relationships and Cognitive Competences in the Domestic Dog: Bridging Science and Education" in Erice, Siciliy. This was the 37th symposium organized by the School of Ethology of the "ETTORE MAJORANA Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture". [Link 3]

In total 80 participants were present. Half of them were scienticsts, the other half were practitioners from the field of dog training, dog breeding and dog keeping. Aim of the workshop was to present of the newest insights of research to the practitioners and to give answers to practical questions.

"This Workshop has been designed to share the recent scientific findings and methods used by researchers with dog trainers, veterinarians, early-career researchers, and all else interested in the unique cognitive and emotional skills of dogs. We have invited leading scientists from seven countries who are converging on a formulation of dogs’ abilities. The findings have both theoretical and applied consequences, especially as regards welfare."

Talks held by scientists of the Unit of Comparative Cognition of the Messerli Research Institute:

Prof. Ludwig Huber: Dog-human interaction: what we understand about dogs and dogs understand about us
Dr. Zsofia Viranyi: Wolf-dog comparisons: tracking the evolutionary origins of dog-human cooperation
Dr. Sarah Marshall-Pescini: To give or not to give? Exploring dogs prosocial tendencies in experimental settings
Dr. Simona Cafazzo: Wolf-dog comparison: an overview of their social organization
Dr. Lisa Horn (jetzt Uni Wien): The dog-owner bond: how does it affect the dog’s behavior?

Beside the newest research findings were presented with posters by young scientists of the Unit of Comparative Cognition.

 [Link 4]

Corporeal Animals - Embodied Mind

International Conference

Friday, December 11th, 2015
Department of Philosophy
NIG, Lecture Room 3B

Participation is free of charge.
Organized by Martin Huth and Peter Kaiser

More information [Link 5]


Talk on the Kantian Case for Animal Experimentation by Samuel Camenzind

Samuel Camenzind gave a talk at the 12th international Kant-Congress at the University of Vienna about Kants view on animal experimentation.
The international Kant-Congress takes place every five years. With more than 600 participants from more than 45 nations it counts as the biggest philosophy event in Vienna in 2015.


4 employees of the messerli Research Institute started at the „Wien Energie Business Run 2015“

Also members of Comparative medicine joined this sporting event on Sept 3rd.

(f.l.t.r.) Sarah Meitz, Maria Isabell de Silva Carvalho, Ina Hermman und Stefanie Wagner
 [Link 6]

International conference "Vethics for Vets"

International conference "Vethics for Vets  – Animal Welfare and Veterinary Medicine" from 17 to 18 September 2015 at the ceremonial hall of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.

During two days, international speakers from different disciplines in Humanities and Social Sciences will give talks on the issue if ethics and veterinary medicine.

Registration until 9 September 2015 via e-mail: vethics(at) [Link 7]
(No conference fee, Conference language: English and German)

Further information please find here [Link 8]


The influence of relationships on neophobia and exploration in wolves and dogs

Exploration is important for animals to be able to gather information about features of their environment that may directly or indirectly influence survival and reproduction. The results of the study have just been published in Animal Behaviour.

Publication: Moretti, L., Hentrup, M., Kotrschal, K., Range, F. (2015) The influence of relationships on neophobia and exploration in wolves and dogs. Animal Behaviour, online first. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.06.008 [Link 9]


Defenses of the Master's Thesis (IMHAI)

Defense of the Master's Thesis of Ms Dr. Irene Fürdös on 18.08.2015, 9.00-11.00  |  Details [Link 10]


Success for CompMed team at EAACI

(June 11, 2015) EAACI/European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Annual Conference in Barcelona, 6-11 June 2015: Success for CompMed team with prizes, lectures and accelerated networking in interest groups.



 [Link 11]
 [Link 12]

International Students Congress and new aspects from allergology

(June 6, 2015) Erika Jensen-Jarolim had the pleasure to give a key note on „New aspects from allergology“ on June 6, 2015 at the International Students Congress in Graz. [Link 13]

We congratulate organizer Ida Aringer and collegues to the interesting program and great success.

Jensen-Jarolim during the lecture and surrounded by the organizing committee team (lead Ida Aringer) and the attending students
 [Link 14]

Meduni-Center CePII congratulates vetmeduni vienna to 250th years anniversary

(June 3, 2015) After a warm welcome by rector Sonja Hammerschmid & vice rector Petra Winter, and the key note by Ludwig Huber, 120 members and CePII head Hannes Stockinger were guided over the sunny vetmed campus to visit the Horse and Ruminant clinics with their animal patients and the Clever Dog lab. 

The event on June 3, 2015 was organized by Erika Jensen-Jarolim, who is double appointed to both universities at Messerli Research Institute.


Wilhelm-Auerswald price for Josef Singer

picture of Josef Singer

(June 3, 2015) Josef Singer, MD, PhD, achieved with his PhD Thesis „IgE based Immunotherapy against Cancer – A Comparative Oncology Approach“ which was completed in the group of Prof. Jensen-Jarolim in 2014, the highly reputated Wilhelm-Auerswald Price with the best written thesis and best lecture of the year 2015. Warmest congratulations!


Myth of tolerant dogs and aggressive wolves refuted

(April 22, 2015) Dogs are regarded as more tolerant and less aggressive compared to their ancestors, the wolves. Researchers from the Messerli Research Institute at the Vetmeduni Vienna and from the Wolf Science Center question this image. They show in a recent study that wolves interact with conspecifics in an even more tolerant way than dogs, suggesting that dogs have a steeper dominance hierarchy than wolves. The results will be published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B [Link 15].

more details [Link 16]


Research and Protective Measures by the Jane Goodall Institute to safe the chimpanzees of Equatorial Africa

Debby Cox, Primatologist

Debby Cox, primatologist and member in the Congo, will talk about the activities of the Tchimpounga Sanctuary and the programme of the Jane Goodall Institute. Debby Cox will demonstrate the positive impact that public awareness and education are having and why the holistic approach of the Jane Goodall Institute is essential to chimpanzee conservation.

2 March, 2015, 4 pm
Lecture Hall C, Vetmeduni Vienna

Poster [Link 17]


Dogs can discriminate emotions in human faces

A team of cognitive scientists at the Messerli Research Institute demonstrated for the first time that dogs can differentiate between happy and angry human faces. Dogs may have developed this skill due to their close relationship with people, in which the animals have learned to understand certain aspects of human non-verbal communication. The results have been published in the renowned journal Current Biology on 12 Feb 2015.

Publication: Müller, C.A., Schmitt, K., Barber, A.L.A., & Huber, L. (2015) Dogs Can Discriminate Emotional Expressions of Human Faces. Current Biology, online first. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.12.055 [Link 18].

The publication also attracted the attention of the media [Link 19].

The dog Teddy choses between two emotional face halves on the touchscreen.
 [Link 20]
The 4 authors of the study: Corsin Müller, Kira Schmitt, Anjuli Barber und Ludwig Huber (from left to right)
 [Link 21]

AWSELVA Autumn Conference: From Research to Practice

30th September 2015 to 4th October 2015
Great Eastern Hall
SS Great Britain
United Kingdom

Details [Link 22]


Announcement of the University of Winnipeg

The 2015 Fall Institute is a multidisciplinary course exploring the idea of “the animal” in the Western moral imagination. All students are welcome to enroll. All guest lectures are open to the public.

More Information [Link 23]


Animal Biographies – Recovering Animal Selfhood through Interdisciplinary Narration?

International Conference
9-11 March 2016, University of Kassel, Germany
Deadline: 21 August 2015

Details [Link 24]


Animal Ethics Essay Prize

Animal Ethics invites submissions for the 1st Animal Ethics Essay Prize on the suffering of animals in nature and intervention in the wild.

Details [Link 25]


Animal Ethics Essay Prize

Animal Ethics invites submissions for the 1st Animal Ethics Essay Prize on the suffering of animals in nature and intervention in the wild.

Details [Link 25]


Workshop "The Self in Time”

Workshop "The Self in Time” from 30 July to 1 August 2015 – Prospective Cognition in Animals and Humans

Details [Link 26]


First Time in World History Judge Recognizes Two Chimpanzees as Legal Persons, Grants Them Writ of Habeas Corpus

Article: [Link 27]


First Time in World History Judge Recognizes Two Chimpanzees as Legal Persons, Grants Them Writ of Habeas Corpus

Article: [Link ]