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A thinner dodo, plus more in this week’s news

4:59pm, February 9, 2011

Can’t get no pollination
An aging population of New Zealand shrubs may offers the first known example of the troubles predicted to follow the decline of wild pollinators, scientists report online in Science February 3. Three kinds of native birds did most of the pollinating for the shrub Rhabdothamnus solandri, explains Sandra Anderson of the University of Auckland, but two have largely disappeared from a study area on North Island, part of New Zealand’s mainland. With observations and experiments, Anderson and her colleagues show that sparse pollination is limiting mainland shrubs, in contrast to healthier populations on nearby islands that still have the right birds. —Susan Milius

Feathers made its rump look fat
A new estimate of dodo plumpness was adds weight to the suspicion that famous portraits just weren’t fair to the now-extinct flightless bird. C

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