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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: 3 hours 11 min ago

Pigeons can discriminate both space, time

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 12:48

Pigeons aren't so bird-brained after all. New research shows that pigeons can discriminate the abstract concepts of space and time, likely using a different region of the brain than humans and primates to do so.

Worm genomes reveal a link between ourselves and our distant relatives

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 09:29

Researchers have decoded two worm genomes and found that they have several genetic similarities with the vertebrates.

Medium-sized carnivores most at risk from environmental change

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 09:29

In a surprise ecological finding, researchers discover medium-sized carnivores spend the most time looking for food, making them vulnerable to change.

Genes identified that distinguish mammals from other animals

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 08:53

What distinguishes Homo sapiens from other living beings? And the group of mammals? What makes them different? Researchers analysed the already-sequenced genomes of 68 mammals and identified 6,000 families of genes that are only found in these animals. These are genes with no homologues outside mammals, in other words, they are not present in other hairless species. In humans, it is estimated that they represent 2.5% of the genes that code for proteins.

Chance record of an annual mass emergence of enigmatic mantis-flies

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 07:50

Being neither mantids nor flies, the peculiar mantis-flies are in fact predatory lacewings which use their mantis-like forelegs to catch prey. While most mantis-flies are known to feed on spider eggs in their immature stages, the larval lifestyle of one subfamily has remained a mystery.

Refrigeration technology to maintain cold-stored mouse sperm viability for 10 days

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 07:49

A research team has succeeded in developing a refrigeration preservation technology that maintains the fertilization functionality of mouse sperm for 10 days. Previously, the maximum freezing period was limited to three days, but by extending the preservation period by over three times that amount, it is now possible to send sperm of genetically modified mice to research organizations around the world.

Beetles' bright colors used for camouflage instead of warning off predators

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 07:49

Biologists have discovered that the bright color patterns of beetles are not a warning signal to predators as previously believed, but actually a form of camouflage, turning an old assumption on its head.

Scientists track sharks by picking up DNA fragments from the sea

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 07:17

Traces of DNA in the sea can be used to monitor shark populations, marine ecologists have shown. Current methods of baiting, hooking and filming sharks, rays and other large fish are invasive and costly and require teams of scientists spending much time at sea, they say.

Surprise in the kangaroo family tree

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 07:16

Ironically, it is jumping genes that indicate the need for a reorganization of the kangaroos' phylogenetic tree. According to a new study, the swamp wallaby is more closely related to the remaining wallaby species and the large red and grey kangaroos and wallaroos than previously assumed. This study was the first to examine the relationships within the kangaroo genus Macropus on the basis of retrotransposons, genes that literally jump across the genetic material.

Bat cave study sheds new light on origin of SARS virus

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 12:12

Genetic recombination between viral strains in bats may have produced the direct evolutionary ancestor of the strain that caused a deadly outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in humans, according to new research.

Parasitic worms don't just wait to be swallowed by new hosts

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 12:12

Contrary to widespread assumptions, parasitic nematodes that spread among mice via food may not wait passively to be swallowed. Instead, according to new research, these tiny worms may use odors from host mice as cues to position themselves where they have a higher chance of being eaten.

How blood-sucking insects find dark-coated cattle in the dark

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 07:39

Dark-coated horses suffer more from blood-sucking horseflies compared to their white counterparts, research shows. Now, investigators know why animals with a dark, smooth coat are particularly vulnerable - even in a dark environment.

Drone photos offer faster, cheaper data on key Antarctic species

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 07:00

Scientists flying drones in Antarctica have demonstrated a cheaper, faster and simpler way to gauge the condition of leopard seals, which can weigh more than a half ton and reflect the health of the Antarctic ecosystem that they and a variety of commercial fisheries rely on.

Feces from entangled North Atlantic right whales reveals 'sky-high' stress levels

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 07:00

North Atlantic right whale scientists found that whales who undergo prolonged entanglements in fishing gear endure 'sky-high hormone levels,' indicating severe stress, which researchers discovered using a pioneering technique of examining scat from live, entangled, and dead whales over 15 years.

Why are there no sea snakes in the Atlantic?

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:33

There is a glaring gap in sea snakes' near-global distribution: the Atlantic Ocean. Biologists chalk up the absence of sea snakes in the Atlantic to geography, climate and timing.

The enigmatic endangered whale shark: 22-year-long global citizen science project sheds light on these animals

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 11:14

Vital scientific information about whale shark behavior, biology and ecology is being uncovered by an unlikely source -- ecotourists and other citizens. Thanks to modern advancements in technology and the burgeoning field of 'citizen science,' new information about gregarious and mysterious whale sharks is being revealed in a study.

Sorry, Grumpy Cat: Study finds dogs are brainier than cats

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 11:13

The first study to actually count the number of cortical neurons in the brains of a number of carnivores, including cats and dogs, has found that dogs possess significantly more of them than cats.

Wound healing or regeneration -- the environment decides?

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 10:02

For humans, the loss of limbs is almost always an irreversible catastrophe. Many animals, however, are not only able to heal wounds but even to replace whole body parts. Biologists have now been able to prove for the first time that comb jellyfish can switch between two completely different self-healing processes depending on the environmental conditions.

Getting a better handle on methane emissions from livestock

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 10:02

Cattle, swine and poultry contribute a hefty portion to the average American's diet, but raising all this livestock comes at a cost to the environment: The industry produces a lot of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Just how much gas the animals release, however, is the subject of debate. Now, one group reports that a new approach could shed light on how accurate current data are.

Invasive frogs give invasive birds a boost in Hawaii

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 07:04

Puerto Rican coqui frogs were accidentally introduced to Hawaii in the 1980s, and today there are as many as 91,000 frogs per hectare in some locations. What does that mean for native wildlife? Concerns that ravenous coquis could reduce the food available for the islands' native insect-eating birds, many of which are already declining, spurred researchers to examine the relationship between frog and bird populations -- but their results weren't what they expected.

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