Raghavendra Gadagkar in The Wire:
My inspiration for this essay comes from reading a paper entitled ‘Time-activity budget of urban-adapted free-ranging dogs’, by Arunita Banerjee and Anindita Bhadra, published in the journal acta ethologica on September 8. This study provides a rigorous quantitative answer to the question raised in the title of my essay, at least for stray dogs in India.
People often ask me why I like some papers more than others. One of my answers is that a paper should make me jealous that I did not write it. This feeling can only come if I could easily have conducted that study and written the paper, at least in principle. Arunita and Anindita’s paper has the potential of making every citizen of India jealous because any one of us could have done their study and could have done it anytime in the last 100 years, if not earlier.
But there is also another reason why this paper moved me so much. It brought back fond memories of my own research in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when I was studying the Indian paper wasp Ropalidia marginata as a hobby.