Unique creature focus of MSU professor's research
It’s common for many to think of MSU and jump to cows, horses, pigs -— any type of animal research — as an area of the university’s expertise.
But, some might be surprised to hear MSU’s knowledge expands far beyond the barn fence and into the African Savannah.
And we aren’t talking elephants or cheetahs, something standard: We are talking hyenas.
Hyenas, the Lion King-associated laughing creature, are world-recognized zoology professor Kay Holekamp’s area of expertise.
According to an MSU press release, Holekamp recently was named a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Holekamp received the recognition for her work about animal behavior and hyenas.
Holekamp and her colleagues perform tests that involve calculating an animal’s intelligence by testing their ability to problem solve, she said. Holekamp also said the researchers give the animal, for instance a hyena, a puzzle box and observe them attempting to open the box.
“We have several lines of research going on at the moment,” Holekamp said in the press release. “One that is of particular interest to a lot of people is work we are doing on the evolution of intelligence and cognition in animals.”