Ecological theory says that poor soils limit the productivity of tropical forests, but adding nutrients as fertilizer rarely increases tree growth, suggesting that productivity is not limited by nutrients after all. Researchers resolved this apparent contradiction, showing that phosphorus limits the growth of individual tree species but not entire forest communities. Their results have sweeping implications for understanding forest growth and change.
Australia's ill-fated Tasmanian tiger looked like any other marsupial when born but assumed dog-like features by the time it left the mother's pouch, scientists said Wednesday in shedding new light on its puzzling evolution. Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-tasmanian-tiger-marsupial-pouch.html#jCp
Beluga whales that spend summers feeding in the Arctic are diving deeper and longer to find food than in earlier years, when sea ice covered more of the ocean for longer periods, according to a new analysis.
Mountain lions in the Santa Ana mountains have lowest genetic diversity ever reported for pumas besides the Florida panther. Of seven male pumas that crossed 1-15 in past 20 years, only one produced offspring, report researchers.
As bees' social behavior evolved, their complex chemical communication systems evolved in concert, according to a new study.
Most bird chicks need parental care to survive. In biparental species the chicks have greater chances of success if both parents participate in this task, especially under hostile situations. An international team of scientists has revealed that when temperatures rise, males and females in pairs of plovers shift incubation more frequently.
Zoologists have documented the first record of a House Swift in the Americas — and begun to unravel the mystery of how the tiny bird got from its south-east Asia breeding grounds to Ladner, BC.
How do baboons succeed in coordinating the movements of their group? Biologists have studied these organisms in the wild to find out which behavioral rules baboons use when interacting with others.
Large families and strong social ties help animals live longer, new research suggests
The colorful world of the coral reef is fascinating -- yet much of the color only comes up when flash photography is used. Now biologists have discovered the many meanings of fluorescence where colors fade.
Chimpanzees routinely fish for algae during the dry season in Bakoun, Guinea, using long and robust sticks as a tool, researchers have discovered.
Support from family and friends significantly reduces stress in wild chimpanzees, both during conflicts with rival groups and during everyday affiliation, report scientists.
Researchers have known for decades that whales create elaborate songs, sometimes projecting their calls for miles underwater. A new study, however, has revealed a previously unknown element of whale songs that could aid this mode of communication, and may play a pivotal role in locating other whales in open ocean.
Why do social beings sometimes put their own common sense aside to follow the lead of others, even though by doing so they could be brought to death's door? Research on carpenter ants is the first to show that so-called social information delivered by other ants often overrides an individual's assessment that a certain food source is toxic.
Researchers have observed wild-bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil deliberately break stones, unintentionally creating flakes that share many of the characteristics of those produced by early Stone Age hominins. The difference is that the capuchins' flakes are not intentional tools for cutting and scraping, but seem to be the by-product of hammering or 'percussive behavior' that the monkeys engage in to extract minerals or lichen from the stones.
The existing genetic diversity of California Condors, all of which are descended from just 14 individuals, is strikingly low. But were condors more genetically diverse before their 20th century population crash, or were they already, as one paleontologist put it in the 1940s, a Pleistocene relict with "one wing in the grave"? The researchers behind a new study analyzed samples from condor museum specimens dating back to the 1820s and found that the historical population was surprisingly diverse, but that a substantial amount of that diversity was lost in the last two centuries.
Can being uncertain of your social rank be bad for your health? New research suggests that low social rank isn’t as bad for your health as uncertain social rank.
The first documented evidence of wild chimpanzee mothers teaching their offspring to use tools has been captured by video cameras set to record chimpanzee tool-using activity at termite mounds in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo, according to new research from anthropologists.
We all know that social insects, such as ants, often work together to achieve effective responses to environmental challenges. However, new research has now uncovered that the contributions of different individuals within such groups vary.
Flock leaders who attempt to give their fellow pigeons incorrect information about their direction of travel can be overruled by the collective wisdom of the group, according to new research.
For the first time, a study shows that remote sensing data from weather surveillance radar and on-the-ground data from the eBird citizen science database both yield robust indices of migration timing, also known as migration phenology. These indices can now be used to address the critical gap in our knowledge regarding the cues that migrants use for fine tuning their migration timing in response to climate.
The Eastern gorilla -- the largest living primate -- has been listed as Critically Endangered due to illegal hunting, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Up until now, scientists had only recognized a single species of giraffe made up of several subspecies. But, according to the most inclusive genetic analysis of giraffe relationships to date, giraffes actually aren't one species, but four. The unexpected findings highlight the urgent need for further study of the four genetically isolated species and for greater conservation efforts for the world's tallest mammal, the researchers say.
Because forest elephants are one the slowest reproducing mammals in the world, it will take almost a century for them to recover from the intense poaching they have suffered since 2002.
Tasks that require chimpanzees to work together preferred five-fold, despite opportunities for competition, aggression and freeloading.
Conservation of intertidal habitat -- 65 percent of which has been lost over the last 50 years -- is critical to the survival of countless birds during migration on the East Asian Australasian Flyway.
The social lives of crickets are similar generation to generation, even though the insects can't learn directly from their mum and dad.
Despite reported differences in appearance and behavior, DNA evidence finds that Namibian desert elephants share the same DNA as African savanna elephants. However, Namibian desert-dwelling elephants should be protected so they can continue to pass on their unique knowledge and survival skills to future generations.
A new study of population trends among 46 ecologically diverse bird species in North America overturns a long-held assumption that the climate conditions occupied by a species do not change over time. Instead, birds that have increased in abundance over the last 30 years now occupy a wider range of climate conditions than they did 30 years ago, and declining species occupying a smaller range
Soon after the demise of the dinosaurs, ants learned how to farm. The story of the mutualism between leafcutter ants and their fungal crop culminates in industrial-scale farming that surpasses even human farming in its efficiency
Bullying happens in the primate world too, but for young bonobo females, big mama comes to the rescue. Kyoto University primatologists report that bonobo females frequently aid younger females when males behave aggressively towards them. This partly explains how females maintain a superior status in bonobo society.
Plants can maximize their chances of reproduction by taking advantage of how insects move between flowers when they track down nectar, a study suggests.
During flight, bees need to position their antennae carefully to get accurate information about the speed of air flowing past their bodies. This is crucial for them to make mid-air decisions in a fraction of a second. Scientists now show that visual cues and airflow work in opposing ways to help bees position their antennae precisely during flight.
A new study finds that access to some nutrients may be a star player in shaping traits related to fitness such as fecundity and eye size over the long term. Given drastic increases in the availability of many nutrients due to the widespread use of fertilizers and road salts, the finding has important implications for agriculture and ecology.
New archaeological evidence suggests that Brazilian capuchins have been using stone tools to crack open cashew nuts for at least 700 years. Researchers say, to date, they have found the earliest archaeological examples of monkey tool use outside of Africa.
As people get older, they become choosier about how they spend their time and with whom they spend it. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on June 23 find, based on a series of experimental and behavioral studies, that similar changes take place in Barbary macaques. The findings offer an evolutionary perspective on why aging humans behave as they do, according to the researchers.
Scientists have shown how the brain anticipates all of the new situations that it may encounter in a lifetime by creating a special kind of neural network that is 'pre-adapted' to face any eventuality.
Among the Asian elephants, the grandmothers have a significant role. They ensure the survival of the calves and breeding success for their daughters, new research shows.
Large animals hunted for their parts -- such as elephant ivory and shark fins -- are in double jeopardy of extinction due to their large body size and high value, according to a new analysis. The study reveals underappreciated risk to marine species similar to that of iconic terrestrial species, but elevated by key differences in the sea.
A new study indicates that sharks of the same species can have different personalities.
Gestural communication in bonobos and chimpanzees shows turn-taking and clearly distinguishable communication styles
In many animal species, physical battles and other aggressive acts determine a certain "pecking order." In the world of ants, fights that involve biting and restraining often determine winners and losers. A new study, however, shows how 'winner-winner' behavior may shape animal colonies.
How diet has affected the evolution of the 10,000 bird species in the world is still a mystery to evolutionary biology. A new study shows how diet preferences have influenced bird diversification over millions of years.
Queen and worker ants develop from the same sets of genes, but perform completely different ecological roles. How the same genes result in two types of individuals is an ongoing mystery. In the past, scientists have only studied a small number of ant species at a time to try to understand the nature of queen-worker differences. However, a global research team recently looked at a large data set with 16 species that provides insight into the differences between queen and worker ants.
A catastrophic collapse of the world's largest great ape-- the Grauer's gorilla -- due to a combination of illegal hunting around mining sites and settlements, prior civil unrest, and habitat loss, a shocking new report by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Fauna & Flora International documents.
Shrinking habitat and increased conflict are projected in regions critical to survival of threatened apex predators, a new report shows. Carnivores include some of the most iconic species that help generate funding for biodiversity conservation and deliver important benefits to humans. Protecting carnivores will conserve many other bird, amphibian, reptile and mammal species that live in priority areas for carnivore conservation.
Scientists have shown for the first time that common bird populations are responding to climate change in a similar pronounced way in both Europe and the USA.
Scientists have shone a new light into the complexities of ant communication, with the discovery that ants not only pick up information through their antennae, but also use them to convey social signals
Some species of plants are capable of colonizing new habitats thanks to birds that transport their seeds in their plumage or digestive tract. Until recently it was known that birds could do this over short distances, but a new study shows that they are also capable of dispersing them over more than 300 kilometres. For researchers, this function could be key in the face of climate change, allowing the survival of many species.
Scientists have revealed the brain activity in animals that helps them find food and other vital resources in unfamiliar environments where there are no cues, such as lights and sounds, to guide them.
Males that stay at home are not second-class males but can breed as successfully as their more adventurous competitors that leave home, a new long-term study on spotted hyenas shows.
Bonobos – just like humans – pay more attention to pictures that show other members of their species displaying emotional behaviour than to neutral scenes.
Low levels of pesticides can impact the foraging behaviour of bumblebees on wildflowers, changing their floral preferences and hindering their ability to learn the skills needed to extract nectar and pollen
People communicate meaning by combining words according to syntactic rules. But this ability is not limited solely to humans: A group of evolutionary biologists have discovered that Japanese great tits, like humans, have also evolved syntax. By combining their various calls using specific rules, these songbirds can communicate specific messages and engage in complex interactions.
Fifty-six million years ago, just before earth's carbon dioxide levels and average temperatures soared, many species of primitive primates went extinct in North America for reasons unclear to scientists. Now, a study of fossilized molars appears to exonerate one potential culprit in the animals' demise: competition with primitive rodents for food.
The extinction of large animals from tropical forests could make climate change worse. New research reveals that a decline in fruit-eating animals such as large primates, tapirs and toucans could have a knock-on effect for tree species and carbon capture.
A new analysis of the jaw of Haramiyavia clemmenseni, one of the earliest known proto-mammals, clarifies the timeline of early mammalian evolution. Through high-resolution computer tomography, scientists from the University of Chicago, Harvard University and Brown University were able to examine the Haramiyavia type specimen in unprecedented detail.
Wing color patterns of butterflies perform different signalling functions, from avoiding bird predators to attracting potential mates. Such conflicting natural and sexual selection pressures may compromise the efficacy of specific signal functions. This study shows that butterflies perhaps try to optimize signal components in sex- and wing surface-specific manners such that naturally and sexually selected signal components are partitioned on the two wing surfaces, with females being better mimics.
A research team working in the Galapagos Archipelago has discovered there are two species of giant tortoises -- not just one, as had been long believed -- living on the island of Santa Cruz in the center of the Galapagos Archipelago.
A research team led by Stony Brook University investigating human and chimpanzee locomotion have uncovered unexpected similarities in the way the two species use their upper body during two-legged walking. The results, reported in Nature Communications, indicate that our early human ancestors, including the famous fossil 'Lucy' (a species known as Australopithecus afarensis), may have been able to use their torsos to increase walking efficiency in the same way as modern humans.
Disease-causing viruses engage their hosts in ongoing arms races: positive selection for antiviral genes increases host fitness and survival, and viruses in turn select for mutations that counteract the antiviral host factors. Studying such adaptive mutations can provide insights into the distant history of host-virus interactions. A study published on August 20th in PLOS Pathogens of antiviral gene sequences in African monkeys suggests that lentiviruses closely related to HIV have infected primates in Africa as far back as 16 million years.
The society you live in can shape the complexity of your brain—and it does so differently for social insects than for humans and other vertebrate animals.
Having a hierarchical social structure with just a few well-connected leaders enables pigeon flocks to navigate more accurately on the wing, new research shows.
A new study has revealed that chimpanzees have the same types of smiles as humans when laughing, which suggests these smile types evolved from positive expressions of ancestral apes.
A newly described ancient marine dolphin fossil from the Waitaki region is of the same superfamily as the endangered Ganges river dolphin, according to University of Otago research.
The sight of skilful aerial maneuvering by flocks of Greylag geese to avoid collisions with York's Millennium Bridge intrigued a mathematical biologist. It raised the question of how birds collectively negotiate human-made obstacles such as wind turbines that lie in their flight paths.
Social grooming, or helping others to stay clean and free of lice and other ecto-parasites, has long been associated with hygiene and good health in wild primates. In the process of picking out ecto-parasites, however, the groomers may be picking up internal ones, a new study finds. The results of the study on critically endangered brown spider monkeys show that physical contact is associated with the spread of several common gastrointestinal parasites.
New research shows that chacma baboons within a troop spend more of their time with baboons that have similar characteristics to themselves: associating with those of a similar age, dominance rank and even personality type such as boldness. This is known as homophily, or 'love of the same'.
They may not be on Facebook or Twitter, but dolphins do, in fact, form highly complex and dynamic networks of friends, according to a recent study. Dolphins are known for being highly social animals, and biologists took a closer look at the interactions between bottlenose dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon and discovered how they mingle and with whom they spend their time.
What do butterflies, spiders and lobsters have in common? They are all surviving relatives of a newly-identified species called Yawunik kootenayi, a marine creature with two pairs of eyes and prominent grasping appendages that lived as much as 508 million years ago – more than 250 million years before the first dinosaur.
In a world first, scientists have discovered how geckos manage to stay clean, even in dusty deserts.
The bottlenose dolphin only colonised the Mediterranean after the last Ice Age -- about 18,000 years ago -- according to new research.
When did dogs first become domesticated? A sophisticated new 3D fossil analysis by biologists Abby Grace Drake, visiting assistant professor of biology at Skidmore, and Michael Coquerelle of the University Rey Juan Carlos contradicts the suggested domestication of dogs during the late Paleolithic era (about 30,000 years ago), and reestablishes the date of domestication to around 15,000 years ago. Their findings were published in Scientific Reports, an online journal of the Nature Publishing Group.
Whitman biology professor Paul Yancey and students Anna Downing '16 and Chloe Weinstock '17 have returned from the first detailed study of the Mariana Trench aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel Falkor.
Learning from others and innovation have undoubtedly helped advance civilization. But these behaviours can carry costs as well as benefits. And a new study by an international team of evolutionary biologists sheds light on how one particular cost - increased exposure to parasites - may affect cultural evolution in non-human primates.
Scientists from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), the Environment Society of Oman, and other organizations have made a fascinating discovery in the northern Indian Ocean: humpback whales inhabiting the Arabian Sea are the most genetically distinct humpback whales in the world and may be the most isolated whale population on earth. The results suggest they have remained separate from other humpback whale populations for perhaps 70,000 years, extremely unusual in a species famed for long distance migrations.
Researchers from the Universities of Göttingen and Bielefeld and the Botanical State Collection of Munich, led by paleontologist Professor Alexander Schmidt from the University of Göttingen, have found the world's first fossils of a carnivorous flypaper trap plant. Both fossil leaves, covered with glandular hairs, are enclosed in a piece of Baltic amber. The amber comes from a mine near Kaliningrad in Russia and is about 35 to 47 million years old. So far, the fossil evidence of carnivorous plants was just of seeds and pollen belonging to the sundew family. The results were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS).
The discovery of a gigantic fanged sea dragon, which hunted the oceans in southwestern China around 247 million years ago, is a sign that global marine ecosystems recovered more broadly than previously thought after the world's worst mass extinction.
An egg much smaller than a common grain of sand and found in a tiny piece of fossilized dung has helped scientists identify a pinworm that lived 240 million years ago.
Primates can influence seed dispersal and spatial genetic kinship structure of plants that serve as their food source. This is the result of a cooperation project of behavioral ecologist Eckhard W. Heymann from the German Primate Center (DPZ) with plant geneticists Birgit Ziegenhagen and Ronald Bialozyt from the Philipps-University Marburg. This study, which is published in the journal Trees, was funded by the German Research Foundation.
A team of researchers in China studying ancient avian bones found in the northern part of that country, suspect the remains may be that of the oldest known example of chicken domestication. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe their analysis and report on their findings.
Birds that are related, such as Darwin's finches, but that vary in beak size and behavior specially evolved to their habitat are examples of a process called speciation. It has long been thought that dramatic changes in a landscape like the formation of the Andes Mountain range or the Amazon River is the main driver that initiates species to diverge. However, a recent study shows that speciation occurred much later than these dramatic geographical changes. Researchers from LSU's Museum of Natural Science have found that time and a species' ability to move play greater parts in the process of speciation. This research was recently published in the print edition of Nature.
Cats and humans have shared the same households for at least 9,000 years, but we still know very little about how our feline friends became domesticated. An analysis of the cat genome by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reveals some surprising clues.
Climate change could be disrupting the relationship between bees and plants according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).
The dodo is among the most famous extinct creatures, and a poster child for human-caused extinction events. Despite its notoriety, and the fact that the species was alive during recorded human history, little is known about how it lived, looked, and behaved. A new study of the only known complete skeleton from a single bird takes advantage of modern 3-D laser scanning technology to open a new window into the life of this famous extinct bird.
The eggs of amniotes -- mammals, reptiles and birds -- come in a remarkable variety of shapes and sizes.
Climate change could be disrupting the relationship between bees and plants according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).
A new study suggests that the flightless birds named moa were completely extinct by the time New Zealand's human population had grown to two and half thousand people at most.
Researchers from Northeastern University's Marine Science Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that moderate ocean acidification and warming can actually enhance the growth rate of one reef-??building coral species. Only under extreme acidification and thermal conditions did calcification decline
Scientists in a new, world-class laboratory in Kenya will work to protect Africa's bees and help farmers produce top-quality honey and wax for international markets. Located at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, Kenya, it will improve our understanding of these unique creatures and boost food security by protecting these important pollinators.
Many species are on the cusp of disappearing forever, from the Yosemite toad to the cave katydid in South Africa. One of the pivotal tipping points is when a population becomes very small and is geographically isolated. Then, extinction is almost certain.
Even during summer dry spells, some patches of soil in forested watersheds remain waterlogged. Researchers have discovered that these patches act as hot spots of microbial activity that remove nitrogen from groundwater and return it to the atmosphere, as reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Australia's plans to protect the Great Barrier Reef are inadequate, short-sighted and will not prevent its decline, the country's pre-eminent grouping of natural scientists said Tuesday.
Amargosa voles, small rodents that inhabit rare marshes of the Mojave Desert, have faced dire circumstances in recent years. Loss of habitat, extreme drought and climate change brought this subspecies of the California vole to near extinction, leaving only a few hundred clinging to existence. It is now one of the most critically endangered mammals in North America. But the vole's luck may be changing with the birth of the first pups from a new captive breeding program at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
BGI Tech and Hebei Agricultural University jointly announced the complete, high quality sequencing of the Jujube genome. Jujube is the most economically important member of the Rhamnaceae family, and the Jujube genome is particularly difficult to sequence due the high level of heterozygosity and other complicating factors. It is the first time that a genome in the Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn) family has been sequenced. This study has been recently published in Nature Communications.
For decades, honeybees have been battling a deadly disease that kills off their babies -- larvae -- and leads to hive collapse. It's called American Foulbrood and its effects are so devastating and infectious, it often requires infected hives to be burned to the ground. Now researchers have produced a natural way to eliminate the scourge, and it's working: Using tiny killer bugs known as phages to protect baby bees from infection.
Global declines in carnivore populations could embolden plant eaters to increasingly dine on succulent vegetation, driving losses in plant and tree biodiversity, according to UBC research published today in Science.
The research is published in the academic journal Ethology. Gordon Burghardt, a professor in the departments of Psychology and Ecology are Evolutionary Biology, is known for defining "play" in a way that allows us to identify it in species not previously thought capable of play, such as wasps, reptiles and invertebrates
Birds that dive for fish while wintering in the Salish Sea, located between British Columbia and Washington, are more likely to be in decline than nondiving birds with less specialized diets, according to a study led by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis.
Murdoch University researchers have discovered new populations of an endangered fresh water fish, the Little Pygmy Perch, near Denmark in Western Australia's south.
They are some of the brightest, loudest, oddest-looking, least-understood birds on the planet. Some have bulbous crests, long fleshy wattles, or Elvis-worthy pompadours in addition to electric blue, deep purple, or screaming orange feathers. But thanks to a comprehensive new evolutionary "tree of life" generated for the tropical cotinga family of South America, the door is now open to new discoveries about the more than 60 species in this amazingly diverse group of birds
With climate change threatening global food supplies, new research claims the rich flora of China could be crucial to underpin food security in the future. A team has identified 871 wild plant species native to China that have the potential to adapt and maintain 28 globally important crops, including rice, wheat, soybean, sorghum, banana, apple, citrus fruits, grape, stone fruits and millet. 42% of these wild plant species, known as crop wild relatives occur nowhere else in the world.
Researchers working in Australia's Great Barrier Reef have documented that coral growth rates have plummeted 40 percent since the mid-1970s. The scientists suggest that ocean acidification may be playing an important role in this perilous slowdown
Of all of the world's species, humans and chimpanzees are some of the only species to coordinate attacks on their own members. Since Jane Goodall introduced lethal inter-community killings, primatologists have debated the concept of warfare in this genus. New research from an international coalition of ape researchers has shed new light on the subject, suggesting that human encroachment and interference is not, as previous researchers have claimed, an influential predictor of chimp-on-chimp aggression
The incredible diversity of coral reef ecosystems is being threatened by factors associated with global climate change and local pollution. Today diseases have increased and are killing more corals. Seeing this increase in frequency and severity of diseases affecting coral reefs around the globe, we have made learning more about coral immune systems a priority.
Sea monkeys have captured the popular attention of both children and aquarium hobbyists because of their easily observable life cycle -- sold as dehydrated eggs, these tiny brine shrimp readily hatch, develop and mate given little more than a tank of salt water.
A study by an international team of scientists coordinatedby Italy's MUSE - Science Museum updates knowledge on the faunal richness of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and Kenya; presents the discovery of 27 new vertebrate species (of which 23 amphibians and reptiles); identifies the drivers of the area's exception biological importance and advocates for its candidature to the UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites.
A study of sea sponges on the Great Barrier Reef could help improve the management of WA coral reefs such as Ningaloo Reef.
Now, next-generation gene sequencing, capable of sequencing hundreds of millions of pieces of DNA, is not only revolutionising human medicine and agriculture, but also transforming our understanding about the origins and distribution of life on Earth.
University of Georgia ecologists John Gittleman and Patrick Stephens are contributors to a major new study that finds that species are going extinct today 1,000 times faster than during pre-human times—a rate an order of magnitude higher than the previous estimate. Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.fr/2014/09/species-going-extinct-1000-times-faster.html#.VCE0FxYrOpM Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook
Lamprey—slimy, eel-like parasitic fish with tooth-riddled, jawless sucking mouths—are rather disgusting to look at, but thanks to their important position on the vertebrate family tree, they can offer important insights about the evolutionary history of our own brain development, a recent study suggests. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-slimy-fish-brain.html#jCp
With climate change threatening global food supplies, new research claims the rich flora of China could be crucial to underpin food security in the future. The research was presented at the British Science Association's press launch for the British Science Festival, which starts today (Monday 8 September). Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-diversity-china-vital-global-food.html#jCp
Most plant fossils are isolated organs, making it difficult to reconstruct the type of plant life or its ecosystem structure. In their study for GEOLOGY, published online on 28 Aug. 2014, researchers Camilla Crifò and colleagues used leaf vein density, a trait visible on leaf compression fossils, to document the occurrence of stratified forests with a canopy dominated by flowering plants. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-life-fossil-canopy.html#jCp
How did the earliest birds take wing? Did they fall from trees and learn to flap their forelimbs to avoid crashing? Or did they run along the ground and pump their "arms" to get aloft? Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-baby-birds-clues-flight.html#jCp
About 400 million years ago a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods - today's amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used their fishy bodies and fins in a terrestrial environment and what evolutionary processes were at play remain scientific mysteries.
When a colony of honeybees grows to about 4,000 members, it triggers an important first stage in its reproductive cycle: the building of a special type of comb used for rearing male reproductive, called drones.
University of Kentucky biologist Randal Voss is sequencing the genome of salamanders. Though we share many of the same genes, the salamander genome is massive compared to our own, about 10 times as large Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.fr/2014/08/sequencing-genome-of-salamanders.html#.U_jTx2MrOpM Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook
New research indicates older species of coral have more of what it takes to survive a warming and increasingly polluted climate, according to biologists from the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez. The researchers examined 140 samples of 14 species of Caribbean corals for a study published by the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
The ancestors of today's crocodiles colonised the seas during warm phases and became extinct during cold phases, according to a new Anglo-French study which establishes a link between marine crocodilian diversity and the evolution of sea temperature over a period of more than 140 million years.
The calls of many animals, from whales to wolves, might contain more language-like structure than previously thought, according to study that raises new questions about the evolutionary origins of human language. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-abc-animal-speech-random.html#jCp
Spider silk is light and delicate, while incredibly resilient and tear-resistant. Understanding the structure and way of construction of these threads is a challenge taken up by a research team of Kiel University. The scientists examined five different spider species regarding the adhesion and tensile strength of a particular silk they use to fix the main thread to a surface. As shown in their new study published in the international Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the scientists found out that the substrate has a particularly significant impact on the silk's adhesion.
Spider silk is an impressive material; lightweight and stretchy yet stronger than steel. But the challenge that spiders face to produce this substance is even more formidable. Silk proteins, called spidroins, must convert from a soluble form to solid fibers at ambient temperatures, with water as a solvent, and at high speed. How do spiders achieve this astounding feat? New research shows how the silk formation process is regulated.
Horses are sensitive to the facial expressions and attention of other horses, including the direction of the eyes and ears. The findings are a reminder for us humans to look beyond our own limitations and recognize that other species may communicate in ways that we can't, the researchers say. After all, human ears aren't mobile.
A 48-year archive of life history data for the world's largest and most diverse collection of endangered primates is now digital and available online. The database allows visitors to view and download data for more than 3600 animals representing 27 species of lemurs, lorises and galagos -- distant primate cousins who predate monkeys and apes -- with more data to be uploaded in the future.
Animals have used the same technique to search for food that's in short supply for at least 50 million years, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed fossilized sea urchin trails from northern Spain and found the tracks reflect a search pattern still used by a huge range of creatures today.
Social animals often develop relationships with other group members to reduce aggression and gain access to scarce resources. In wild chacma baboons the strategy for grooming activities shows a certain pattern across the day. new insights highlight the importance of understanding the full range of time periods over which social strategies may be optimized. Such knowledge is crucial when studying the social behavior and strategies of group-living animals.
The burrows made by scorpions follow a very sophisticated design, beginning with a short, vertical entrance shaft that flattened out a few centimeters below the surface into a horizontal platform, new research has found. The burrows then turn sharply downwards, descending further below ground to form a dead-end chamber. This cool, humid chamber, where evaporation water loss is minimal, provides a refuge for the scorpions to rest during the heat of the day.
Scientists have discovered that scorpions design their burrows to include both hot and cold spots. A long platform provides a sunny place to warm up before they hunt, whilst a humid chamber acts as a cool refuge during the heat of the day.
Scientists have identified a new component of the complex navigational system that allows monarch butterflies to transverse the 2,000 miles to their overwintering habitat each year. Monarchs use a light-dependent, inclination magnetic compass to help them orient southward during migration.
Contrary to recent well-publicized research, habitat loss, not insecticide use, continues to be the best explanation for the declines in grassland bird populations in the U.S. since the 1980s, according to a new study by ecologists. Last year, a pair of researchers linked the drop in the populations of grassland bird species to insecticide use, rather than to a rapid decline of grasslands, a more commonly accepted theory. However, after re-examining the data, researchers now believe that the loss of habitat continues to be the best explanation.
Without any pre-training or restrictions in partner choice among chimpanzees, researchers found for the first time that chimpanzees housed in a socially complex, contained setting spontaneously cooperate with multiple partners of their choosing.
Ants are capable of complex problem-solving strategies that could be widely applied as optimization techniques. An individual ant searching for food walks in random ways. Yet the collective foraging behavior of ants goes well beyond that, a mathematical study reveals: The animal movements at a certain point change from chaos to order. This happens in a self-organized way. Understanding the ants could help analyze similar phenomena -- for instance how humans roam the Internet.
Some primate species will wait more than two minutes if they know they will get a larger serving of food -- while others are unable to wait more than a few seconds. A new study probes the evolutionary reasons for the difference.
It's official (in the horned beetle world at least), females prefer courtship over competitiveness -- and it doesn't matter about the size of your mandibles either. An international study investigated the complicated sexual conflict over mating in Gnatocerus cornutus, the horned flour-beetle. Female mate choice and male-male competition are the typical mechanisms of sexual selection. However, these two mechanisms do not always favor the same males, research showed.
Bumblebees can distinguish between safe and dangerous environments, and are attracted to land on flowers popular with other bees when exposed to perilous situations, according to new research. "It's similar to walking through a bad neighbourhood -- you're more likely to choose a busier route, where there are lots of other people around than a deserted street, to get to your destination, since your chances of being attacked are probably lower," a co-author stated.
An ornithologist has found that the capacity of a bird’s gut to change with environmental conditions is a primary limiting factor in their ability to adapt to the rapidly changing climate. And he believes that most other animals are also limited in a similar way.
New findings show that chimpanzees exhibit flexibility in their empathy, just as humans do. This may help explain the evolution of how and when humans engage with others and choose to offer flexibility, and how we can do so more.
Flocks of birds manage to navigate through difficult environments by individuals having predispositions to favor the left- or right-hand side. Researchers flew the budgerigars down a tunnel where they were met by an obstacle, and a choice of two paths to fly through. Sometimes the paths were of equal size, and sometimes one would be bigger than the other. Some birds had no bias and would choose the wider gap every time, while others with a distinct bias preferred going to one side, even if it was significantly narrower than the alternative.
A new study looks at colonies of social wasps and explores the acceptance of individuals not related to each other, in a highly organized and adaptable society. The findings show that the age of the individual, and of the colony, defines the costs and benefits of accepting new members into a group.
Chimpanzees are sensitive to social influences but they maintain their own strategy to solve a problem rather than conform to what the majority of group members are doing. However, chimpanzees do change their strategy when they can obtain greater rewards, MPI researchers found. The study was published in PLOS ONE on November 28, 2013.
From insect-munching tamarins to leaf-loving howler monkeys, researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have compiled the most thorough review of primate eating habits to date.
Wolves can learn from observing humans and pack members where food is hidden and recognize when humans only pretend to hide food, reports a study for the first time in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology. These findings imply that when our ancestors started to domesticate dogs, they could have built on a pre-existing ability of wolves to learn from others, not necessarily pack members.
Scorpions tend to use their strongest defense mechanisms, according to new research published November 13 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Arie van der Meijden and colleagues at Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO) in Vairão, Portugal.
All animals have to make decisions every day. Where will they live and what will they eat? How will they protect themselves? They often have to make these decisions as a group, too, turning what may seem like a simple choice into a far more nuanced process. So, how do animals know what's best for their survival?
A Deakin University study has found for the first time that, just like humans, unpredictability is also a consistent behavioral trait in the animal world.
Researchers studying young bonobos in an African sanctuary have discovered striking similarities between the emotional development of the bonobos and that of children, suggesting these great apes regulate their emotions in a human-like way. This is important to human evolutionary history because it shows the socio-emotional framework commonly applied to children works equally well for apes.
Like humans, many animals have close and stable friendships. However, until now, it has been unclear what makes particular individuals bond. Cognitive Biologists of the University of Vienna, Austria, and the University of Zurich, Switzerland, explored the question and found that chimpanzees choose their friendships based on similarity of personality.
"Should I say something or not?" Human beings are not alone in pondering this dilemma -- animals also face decisions when they communicate by voice.
University of East Anglia scientists have revealed how females select the 'right' sperm to fertilize their eggs when faced with the risk of being fertilized by wrong sperm from a different species.