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Animals in the news. Dogs, elephants, horses and kangaroos. Read the latest research involving animals of every sort and description.
Updated: 6 hours 44 min ago

Illegal global trade of pangolins

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 09:39

Animal traffickers are taking advantage of remote ivory trade routes to smuggle pangolins – one of the world’s most endangered animals – out of Central Africa, a new study has found.

Evolutionary origin of termite gut microbiome revealed

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 09:05

Researchers have shown that the bacterial communities in termite guts came about through both inheritance and transfer between colonies.

New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 09:05

Biomimetics offers an innovative approach to solving human problems by imitating strategies found in nature. Medical research could also benefit from biomimetics as scientists point out using the example of chronic kidney disease. In future research, they intend to study the mechanisms that protect the muscles, organs and bones of certain animals during extreme conditions such as hibernation.

High levels of microplastics found in Northwest Atlantic fish

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 09:05

A new study finds 73 percent of mesopelagic fish caught in the Northwest Atlantic had microplastics in their stomachs -- one of the highest levels globally. Typically living at depths of 200-1,000 meters, these fish could spread microplastic pollution throughout the marine ecosystem, by carrying microplastics from the surface down to deeper waters. They are also prey for fish eaten by humans, meaning that microplastics could indirectly contaminate our food supply.

Antioxidant treatment prevents sexual transmission of Zika in mice

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:18

The antioxidant drug ebselen can prevent sexual transmission of Zika virus from male to female mice, according to new research. The results hint at a potential role for ebselen in preventing Zika spread among humans.

'Evolutionary rescue' areas for animals threatened by climate change

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:18

As winters arrive later and snow melts earlier, the worldwide decrease in snow cover already may have dramatic impacts on animals that change coat colors with the seasons. An international scientific team has set out to discover whether adaptive evolution can rescue these animals in the face of rapidly changing climate.

The more kinds of bees, the better for humans

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:17

The bigger the area to pollinate, the more species of wild bees you need to pollinate it.

World's most venomous spiders are actually cousins

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:11

Two lineages of dangerous arachnids found in Australia -- long classified as distantly related in the official taxonomy -- are, in fact, relatively close evolutionary cousins. The lineages include the most venomous spiders in the world. The findings could help in the development of novel antivenoms, as well as point to new forms of insecticides.

Hunting is changing forests, but not as expected

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:50

In many tropical forests, over-hunting is diminishing the populations of animals who are vital for dispersing the seeds of woody plants. Those same plants are vital for carbon storage and previous theoretical modeling studies predicted dire consequences to defaunation, this research suggests otherwise. Instead the data shows the effects on the ecosystem are less straightforward and less immediately devastating.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria temporarily altered choruses of land and sea animals

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:50

Audio recordings of Hurricanes Irma and Maria's passage over Puerto Rico document how the calls of coastal critters changed in response to the deadly storms. The hurricanes caused a major disruption in the acoustic activity of snapping shrimp, a reduction in insect and bird sounds, and potentially an intensification of fish choruses, according to new research.

Australian fire beetle avoids the heat: Its infrared organs warn the insect of hot surfaces

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:50

The Australian jewel beetle Merimna atrata has several heat sensors. Originally it was thought that it uses them to detect forest fires as the insect lays its eggs in the wood of burned eucalyptus trees. Researchers were finally able to refute this hypothesis. Instead, the beetle appears to need its heat sensors for a different purpose: to not burn its feet on landing.

Study links fox domestication to gene activity in the pituitary gland

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 12:59

A study of foxes offers new insights into the brain changes that occur in wild canids as they become more tame, researchers report. The study links fox domestication to changes in gene activity in the pituitary gland, a brain center that kicks out hormones to regulate various bodily functions, including the stress response.

Monitoring bacteria on whale skin

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 12:58

Just like with humans, the skin on marine mammals serves as an important line of defense against pathogens in their environment. A new study sheds light on the skin microbiome -- a group of microorganisms that live on skin -- in healthy humpback whales, which could aid in future efforts to monitor their health.

Carefully managed fire can promote rare savanna species

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 07:38

In the first continent-wide study of the effects of fire on bird and mammal diversity in the African savanna environment, researchers have found that increasing 'pyrodiversity' boosts the variety of species of mammals by around 20 percent and of birds by 30 percent in savannas with high rainfall.

Medical care for wounded ants

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:34

Ants dress the wounds their mates have suffered in battle. Such behavior is believed to be unique among animals.

Diet or regular? Decoding behavioral variation in ant clones

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:34

Clonal ants appear to be diverse in responding to sweetened water, suggesting epigenetic regulation in behavioral variation and colony survival.

Longer-lived animals have longer-lived proteins

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 13:49

Researchers studying half-lives of evolutionarily related proteins in different species uncovered a link between species lifespan and protein lifespan.

Ocean winds influence seal pup migration

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 13:43

Scientists have confirmed what native Alaskans have observed for centuries -- maritime winds influence the travel patterns of northern fur seal pups. New research shows strong winds can potentially displace seal pups by hundreds of kilometers during their first winter migration.

Understanding a fly's body temperature may help people sleep better

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 10:04

In findings that one day may help people sleep better, scientists have uncovered the first molecular evidence that two anciently conserved proteins in the brains of insects and mammals share a common biological ancestry as regulators of body temperature rhythms crucial to metabolism and sleep. The scientists study fruit flies (Drosophila) and mice to solve mysteries about body temperature rhythms in insects and mammals.

Snapping shrimp may act as 'dinner bell' for gray whales off Oregon coast

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 10:04

Scientists have for the first time captured the sounds of snapping shrimp off the Oregon coast and think the loud crackling from the snapping of their claws may serve as a dinner bell for eastern Pacific gray whales.

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