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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: 11 hours 40 min ago

Pumas found to exhibit behaviors like social animals

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 07:36

Pumas, long known as solitary carnivores, are more social than previously thought, according to a new study. The findings provide the first evidence of complex social strategies in any solitary carnivore -- and may have implications for multiple species, including other wild cats around the world.

Last common ancestor of humans and apes weighed about five kilograms

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 06:09

New research suggests that the last common ancestor of apes -- including great apes and humans -- was much smaller than previously thought, about the size of a gibbon. The findings, published today in the journal Nature Communications, are fundamental to understanding the evolution of the human family tree.

'Killer' toothaches likely cause misery for captive orca: Whales chew concrete and steel tank surfaces

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 15:05

An international research team has undertaken the first in-depth investigation of the teeth of captive orca (killer whales) and have found them a sorry state, which raises serious concerns for these majestic mammals' overall health and welfare.

Herbivores help protect ecosystems from climate change

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 15:02

Plant-eating critters are the key ingredient to helping ecosystems survive global warming, finds new research that offers some hope for a defense strategy against climate change.

Bycatch responsible for decline of endangered New Zealand sea lion

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 10:17

Getting caught in fishing nets is a major cause of death for the increasingly endangered New Zealand sea lion, according to new research.

Unraveling the genetics of disc disease in dogs

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 09:38

Since the early 1900s, veterinarians have observed intervertebral disc disease -- a common cause of back pain, rear limb paralysis and inability to walk -- more frequently in dogs with short legs (dachshund, French bulldog, and Pekingese to name a few.) But they couldn't pinpoint why -- until now.Why short-legged dogs more likely to develop painful disease

Advance achieved in dry preservation of mammalian sperm cells

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 09:38

In an important advance in the preservation of animal reproductive material, researchers have achieved the first successful drying and rehydration of domestic cat sperm using a rapid microwave dehydration method. More challenging to dehydrate than rodent sperm because of the presence of a centrosome, the rehydrated cat sperm were viable and capable of producing blastocysts. Dehydration preservation allows relatively easy, low-tech storage, which could be important in resource-challenged conditions.

Kune Kune piglets possess social learning skills and have an astonishingly good memory

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 09:03

Pigs are socially competent and capable of learning. But the combination of these skills, learning by observing others, has been insufficiently studied so far. Exact copying and understanding of demonstrated actions -- highly developed learning abilities -- could not be proven. A new study with Kune Kune pigs, has now shown for the first time that pigs do learn from each other. The intelligent animals also possess remarkable long-term memory after internalizing a technique.

Star tortoise makes meteoric comeback

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 09:03

The Burmese star tortoise (Geochelone platynota), a medium-sized tortoise found only in Myanmar's central dry zone, has been brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to an aggressive captive-breeding effort spearheaded by a team of conservationists and government partners.

Scientists eavesdrop on little-known beaked whales to learn how deeply they dive

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 09:03

Scientists have reported the first dive depths for Gervais' and True's beaked whales, two of the least known beaked whale species known as mesoplodonts. The study is also the first to use a towed linear hydrophone array to document dive depths for beaked whales, and researchers say it's a promising method to obtain dive depths for other beaked whale species.

How rabies can induce frenzied behavior

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 06:18

Scientists may finally understand how the rabies virus can drastically change its host's behavior to help spread the disease, which kills about 59,000 people annually. A new study shows how a small piece of the rabies virus can bind to and inhibit certain receptors in the brain that play a crucial role in regulating the behavior of mammals. This interferes with communication in the brain and induces frenzied behaviors that favor the transmission of the virus.

Grassland sparrows constantly searching for a nicer home

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 06:18

Some birds regularly move to new territories between years, depending on factors including habitat quality and the presence of predators, but what about within a single breeding season? Grassland ecosystems are particularly dynamic, continuously shaped by fire and grazing, and a new study confirms that one particular grassland bird moves frequently each summer in search of the best territories. For grasshopper sparrows, the grass really does look greener on the other side.

Grazing horses on better pastures

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 06:17

Horses in less temperate zones may get some extra grazing. A new study shows warm-season annual grasses have good potential for use in horse pastures.

Citrus fruit peel: Potential alternative to mosquito control discovered

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 17:01

Natural essential oils extracted from the peel of a citrus fruit could be an effective new eco-friendly alternative in mosquitoes control programs, reports a new study.

How the cone snail's deadly venom can help us build better medicines

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 12:29

By researching deadly cone snail venom, researchers hope to find solutions to tough medical problems and diseases.

Humpback whale blow microbiome described

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:39

For the first time, scientists have identified an extensive conserved group of bacteria within healthy humpback whales' blow -- the moist breath that whales spray out of their blowholes when they exhale.

Mass extinctions led to low species diversity, dinosaur rule

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:40

Two of Earth's five mass extinction events -- times when more than half of the world's species died -- resulted in the survival of a low number of so-called 'weedy' species that spread their sameness across the world as the Earth recovered from these dramatic upheavals. The findings could shed light on modern high extinction rates and how biological communities may change in the future.

Diversity of large animals plays an important role in carbon cycle

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 07:56

With abundant data on plants, large animals and their activity, and carbon soil levels in the Amazon, research suggests that large animal diversity influences carbon stocks and contributes to climate change mitigation.

Scientists complete conservation puzzle, shaping understanding of life on Earth

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 09:31

An international team of scientists has completed the 'atlas of life' -- the first global review and map of every vertebrate on Earth. The 39 scientists have produced a catalogue and atlas of the world's reptiles. By linking this atlas with existing maps for birds, mammals and amphibians, the team have found many new areas where conservation action is vital.

Establishing a conservation breeding program to save the last saola

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 06:29

The saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), a primitive wild cattle endemic to the Annamite mountain range in Vietnam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), is in immediate danger of extinction. The primary threat to its survival is intensive commercial snaring to supply the thriving wild meat trade in Indochina. In order to save the saola it is essential to establish a conservation breeding program.

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