Archive | Animal Kingdom

Chromatophores

Cephalopods: Nature’s camouflaging masters

When I was watching Finding Dory last weekend, one character caught my eye: Hank the octopus (or septopus—you will understand this reference when you see the movie). Throughout the movie, Hank uses his ability to blend into his surroundings, a skill that is very useful for Dory’s plan to reunite with her parents. Many cephalopods—which […]

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bird_babbler

Key element of human language discovered in Australian bird




Stringing together meaningless sounds to create meaningful signals was previously thought to be the preserve of humans alone, but a new study published in the journalPLOS Biology reveals that Australian babbler birds are also able to communicate in this way. Researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Zurich discovered that the chestnut-crowned babbler (pictured) – […]




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birman_cat

High-pitched sounds found to cause seizures in cats




Veterinary specialists in the UK have authored an intriguing paper regarding certain types of feline seizures, which appear to occur in response to certain high-pitched sounds. The paper, entitled “Audiogenic reflex seizures in cats,” has been published in theJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery and is based on data from 96 cats. It reveals that […]




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opossum

Opossum-based antidote to snake venom could save thousands of lives




A peptide found in opossums that can be manufactured easily could provide a novel and inexpensive antidote for venomous snake and scorpion bites. The researchers behind the discovery believe it could save thousands of lives worldwide, without the side effects of current antivenom treatments. Worldwide, an estimated 421,000 cases of poisonous snake bites and 20,000 […]




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dog_brain

This is your brain on dogs




How closely does the relationship between people and their dogs mirror the parent-child relationship? A new study has been investigating differences in how parts of the brain are activated when women view images of their children and of their own dogs. The researchers, from Massachusetts General Hospital, have detailed their findings in the journal PLOS […]




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psand

Scientists uncover biggest-ever flying bird




The fossilized remains of an extinct giant bird with a wingspan of 24 feet place the creature above theoretical upper limits for powered flight in animals, leaving scientists to wonder how the enormous bird managed to take to the air. Named Pelagornis sandersi, the new species was more than twice as big as the Royal […]




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chimp

African music preferred by chimps




Chimpanzees like to listen to the different rhythms of music from Africa and India, but prefer silence to music from the West, according to new research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. “We used cultural music from Africa, India and Japan to pinpoint specific acoustic properties,” said study co-author Frans de Waal, of Emory University. […]




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cave_art_dog

Domestication of dogs may explain success of early humans




A new analysis of European archaeological sites suggests that early modern humans working with the earliest domestic dogs were extremely successful at killing large animals. The success of the dog-human hunting combo could explain the mysterious, massive collections of mammoth bones found in Europe. These spectacular archaeological sites yielding extraordinary numbers of dead mammoths – […]




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penguin_adelie

New type of avian flu found in Antarctic penguins




An international team of researchers has identified a previously unknown avian influenza virus in a group of Adelie penguins from Antarctica. The new virus is described in a study published this week in mBio. Other research groups have previously detected influenza antibodies in Antarctic birds, but until now no one had detected an actual live […]




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snake_venomous

Camouflage or bright colors? What’s better to live long and prosper?




In nature, bright colors are signals that scream, “Don’t eat me!” But how did prey species evolve these characteristics? Now, thanks to a computer simulation of evolving populations of organisms, evolutionary scientists think they know the answer. In the journal PLOS ONE, researchers at Michigan State University reveal that these color-coded communications evolve over time […]




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