Science Ticker

Your daily roundup of research news

Science News Staff

Science Ticker

Science Ticker

Tropical songbirds get their growth spurt late

Delayed development helps fledglings survive after leaving the nest

whitehead's broadbill and hermit thrush

MOUTHS TO FEED  Tropical birds like the Whitehead's broadbill (left) tend to raise fewer nestlings at a time than birds in temperate regions, like the hermit thrush (right). The reason may lie in how those babies grow, a new study suggests.

Sponsor Message

Scientists have long puzzled over why tropical songbirds lay fewer eggs than their temperate-zone counterparts. A new study suggests that it may have to do with how baby birds grow.

Thomas Martin of the University of Montana in Missoula compared nestling development in 72 songbird species from Arizona, Venezuela and Malaysia. While the Arizona birds grew quickly in the early days after hatching, the tropical birds were late bloomers, only showing speedy growth later on. But this late bout of rapid development gave tropical fledglings an advantage: Their wings grew faster than those of birds in milder climates, leaving them better equipped to escape hungry predators. 

Fueling that extra wing growth means more work for bird parents. With fewer eggs to care for, adults can provide more food per hatchling, Martin reports August 28 in Science.   

Planetary Science

Mountains, craters revealed in latest images of dwarf planet Ceres

By Christopher Crockett 7:59am, August 27, 2015
The Dawn spacecraft sent back postcards from Ceres that show off the dwarf planet’s varied terrain.
Clinical Trials,, Health

Earlier is better for HIV treatment

By Nathan Seppa 5:00pm, August 26, 2015
People infected with HIV benefit from starting a drug regimen early, an international study finds.
Health,, Evolution,, Animals

Virus closely related to hepatitis A discovered in seals

By Sarah Schwartz 10:17am, August 25, 2015
Scientists have discovered a relative of the hepatitis A virus in seals.
Animals,, Ecology

Chimps keep numbers high as forest losses mount

By Bruce Bower 8:00pm, August 24, 2015
African apes show surprising resilience in face of forest destruction.
Planetary Science

Flyby of Dione yields stunning pictures of icy Saturn moon

By Christopher Crockett 5:09pm, August 24, 2015
Saturn’s moon Dione shows off its ripping landscapes during the Cassini spacecraft’s final flyby.
Immune Science,, Health

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise

By Nathan Seppa 2:00pm, August 19, 2015
An experimental vaccine against the MERS virus triggers immune protection, a new study finds.

Eight more galaxies found orbiting the Milky Way

By Christopher Crockett 8:25am, August 19, 2015
The dozens of satellite galaxies that orbit the Milky Way make excellent laboratories for studying dark matter.

Another tiny frog species found in sky islands of Brazil

By Teresa Shipley Feldhausen 12:00pm, August 18, 2015
Another new species of miniature frog has been discovered amongst the leaf litter in the high cloud forests of southern Brazil.
Condensed Matter

Quest for room-temperature superconductivity warms up

By Andrew Grant 11:00am, August 17, 2015
Scientists have demonstrated that a material can conduct electrical current without resistance at temperatures as high as –70° Celsius.
Chemistry,, Genetics

Pathway pieced together to make opiates in yeast

By Bethany Brookshire 2:00pm, August 13, 2015
Scientists have engineered yeast to make sugar into thebaine, a precursor to opiates such as morphine.
Subscribe to RSS - Science Ticker