White hair. Pink nose. Tail. The mouse is three months old. He’s been in a cage for four weeks in a period of enforced solitude. But today he will get a visitor.

A new mouse enters his cage, “our” mouse sizes him up — there’s “an initial pattern of exploratory activity”, as the researchers running this trial will put it. Then suddenly our mouse makes a startling move. He stands on his back legs, rattles his tail and aggressively bites the intruder, wrestling him to the ground.

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