Apparently, wild mice, if they encounter wheels in the wilderness, sometime run on those wheels.

This finding, however, tells us absolutely nothing – and in particular, whether mice run on wheels for fun – about the motivations of mice running on wheels in laboratory environments.

Is it suggestive? At best. Is suggestive-at-best science? No.

At least somebody in the scientific community is also skeptical:

Although most peer reviews have been positive, Mark Bekoff, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, said he thought the study showed that wheel-running could be a voluntary activity but that when caged, mice might do it more out of stress of confinement.

Too bad he wasn’t a reviewer.

Just because you can do some crappy experiment and can’t do some proper experiment doesn’t mean that the crappy experiment – even if it’s the best one you can do – constitutes good science. Bad experiments are always bad, even if there is no better alternative.

-JD Cross

 

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