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For bats, simple traffic patterns limit collisions

Dauberton’s bats

SYNCHRONIZED SNACKING  Dauberton’s bats copy foraging fellows’ movements within four or five wingbeats to avoid aerial collisions. 

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Humans aren’t the only ones who follow traffic rules. Bats do it too, researchers report March 26 in PLOS Computational Biology.

Scientists eavesdropped on echolocating Daubenton’s bats (Myotis daubentonii) as the animals cruised for dinner. Once a bat locks on to a peer’s  sonar calls, the bat copies its movements to within a few wingbeats, the researchers found.

Syncing up benefits the bats by helping them avoid colliding in midair. The bats chase each other, swoop one after another and bank to avoid crashing.

 

Planetary Science,, Astronomy

NASA has a plan for putting rock from asteroid in moon’s orbit

By Christopher Crockett 5:46pm, March 25, 2015
NASA selects concept for its Asteroid Redirect Mission, which will let astronauts train for future missions to Mars.
Science & Society,, Numbers

John Nash, Louis Nirenberg share math’s Abel Prize

By Lila Guterman 4:53pm, March 25, 2015
John Nash and Louis Nirenberg will receive the 2015 ‘Nobel of mathematics’ for their work on partial differential equations.
Quantum Physics

One photon wrangles 3,000 atoms into quantum entanglement

By Andrew Grant 2:00pm, March 25, 2015
A single photon can trigger the creation of quantum entanglement between thousands of atoms.
Microbiology,, Agriculture

A vineyard's soil influences the microbiome of a grapevine

By Helen Thompson 7:00am, March 25, 2015
Vineyard soil microbes end up on grapes, leaves and flowers, study finds.
Neuroscience

The brain sees words, even nonsense ones, as pictures

By Ashley Yeager 5:28pm, March 24, 2015
Once we learn a word, our brain sees the string of letters as a picture, even if the word isn't a real one.
Chemistry,, Neuroscience,, Health

Today’s pot is more potent, less therapeutic

By Beth Mole 12:32pm, March 24, 2015
The medicinal qualities of marijuana may be up in smoke thanks to years of cross-breeding plants for a better buzz.
Planetary Science,, Astrobiology

Potentially life-friendly nitrogen compounds found on Mars

By Lila Guterman 3:53pm, March 23, 2015
“Fixed” nitrogen has been found in Mars deposits, raising the possibility that ancient life could have used it to build biomolecules.
Planetary Science

Bright patches on Ceres are plumes of water, maybe

By Christopher Crockett 10:49am, March 20, 2015
Bright patches on Ceres could be plumes of water venting into space.
Animals

Why orangutans cup their mouths to sound an alarm

By Helen Thompson 6:18pm, March 19, 2015
Orangutans might use their hands to lower the pitch of alarm calls, a study suggests.
Animals,, Ecology

Parasites make cannibal shrimp hungry

By Helen Thompson 8:00am, March 19, 2015
Parasites make sometimes-cannibalistic shrimp more cannibalistic, a new study suggests.
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