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Academics: Viral Video Production Helps Science – Who Would Have Thought?

Bear hugging a dog - scenes like this can go viral and help science!

Bear hugging a dog – scenes like this can go viral and help science!

Some good news for science bloggers! The last several years have seen a new trend in viral videos. The sudden flood of videos with animals, especially cats, interacting with one another, took the Internet by storm. Nowadays, you cannot log in to Facebook or fire up YouTube without seeing at least one Lol Catz picture, or a video of a cat playing with a dog, a dog scaring a bear up the tree, or some other video of a random animal doing something so cute that we cannot help it but take the two minutes out of our life and watch it, thus totally wasting our time.

Well, it turns out that we are not wasting our time after all. By clicking that ‘like button’ or sending a link to our friends, we’re actually helping science! We’d be helping even more by shooting the video ourselves and posting it on the Internet!

How is that possible you ask? Well, Live Science website has just posted a very interesting article that answers the question How Cute Animal Videos Could Help Science? According to the article, researchers say that those funny and cute videos oftentimes “document behaviors that are rarely seen, and they could help scientists understand how species interact with each other.”

05/23/2013 – UPDATE: New Upcoming Video Demonstrates the First Interaction Between a Ferret and a Dog:

Of course, homemade animal videos can hardly qualify as academic video production or substitute for serious research. That does not mean they don’t have any academic value. Such videos give scientist a unique opportunity to observe animals in situations that would be very hard to find in nature. Also, such content can be used to identify animals for research purposes.

There are possible downfalls though. As the article points out, the danger in using such videos as academic arguments due to the possibility of fakes and post-production edits done to enhance their viral potential.

As mentioned before, the original article – written by Megan Gannon – is very interesting and a good read to boot, so please check it out on Live Science.

If you’re interested in viral videos, please visit the viral video production page on Indigo Productions’ website.

Now go watch some cat videos! 🙂

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Category: Viral Videos
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