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E.g., 12/16/2017
E.g., 12/16/2017
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  • The Science Life

    In marine mammals’ battle of the sexes, vaginal folds can make the difference

    The battle of the sexes, at least among certain ocean mammals, may come down to well-placed skin folds, suggests research by Patrica Brennan, an evolutionary biologist at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., and colleagues.

    In some species, enhanced male-female genital fit has evolved over time in ways that make mating easier. This is an example of what scientists call congruent...

    12/15/2017 - 12:00 Animals, Evolution
  • News

    In a tally of nerve cells in the outer wrinkles of the brain, a dog wins

    If more nerve cells mean more smarts, then dogs beat cats, paws down, a new study on carnivores shows. That harsh reality may shock some friends of felines, but scientists say the real surprises are inside the brains of less popular carnivores. Raccoon brains are packed with nerve cells, for instance, while brown bear brains are sorely lacking.

    By comparing the numbers of nerve cells, or...

    12/14/2017 - 09:00 Neuroscience, Animals
  • Letters to the Editor

    These are the most-read Science News stories of 2017

    The Science News website attracted millions of visitors in 2017. The lists below name the most-read online stories outside of our Top 10 stories of the year, plus the most popular stories for each of our blogs.

    Top stories

    1. The blue wings of this dragonfly may be surprisingly aliveTiny tubes between veins in the shimmery blue wings of morpho dragonflies (shown above) may be respiratory...

    12/13/2017 - 12:00 Science & Society, Astronomy, Animals
  • News

    Ticks had a taste for dinosaur blood

    Ticks once tickled dinosaurs’ feathers.

    The tiny arthropods have been surreptitiously sucking blood for more than 100 million years, but evidence of early ticks’ preferred hosts has been scant. Now, samples of amber from Myanmar have caught the critters with their spiny mouthparts inside the cookie jar. A hunk of 99-million-year-old amber holds a tick tangled in a dinosaur feather,...

    12/12/2017 - 11:00 Animals, Paleontology
  • News in Brief

    Once settled, immigrants play important guard roles in mongoose packs

    View the video

    Immigrants, they get the job done — eventually. Among dwarf mongooses, it takes newcomers a bit to settle into a pack. But once these immigrants become established residents, everyone in the pack profits, researchers from the University of Bristol in England report online December 4 in Current Biology.  

    Dwarf mongooses (Helogale parvula) live in groups of around 10...

    12/11/2017 - 09:00 Animals, Ecology
  • Introducing

    This ancient marsupial lion had an early version of ‘bolt-cutter’ teeth

    A skull and other fossils from northeastern Australia belong to a new species in the extinct family of marsupial lions.

    This newly named species, Wakaleo schouteni, was a predator about the size of a border collie, says vertebrate paleontologist Anna Gillespie of the University of New South Wales in Sydney. At least 18 million years ago (and perhaps as early as 23 million years ago), it...

    12/11/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Paleontology, Evolution
  • News

    Narwhals react to certain dangers in a really strange way

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    When escaping from humans, narwhals don’t just freeze or flee. They do both.

    These deep-diving marine mammals have similar physiological responses to those of an animal frozen in fear: Their heart rate, breathing and metabolism slow, mimicking a “deer in the headlights” reaction. But narwhals (Monodon monoceros) take this freeze response to extremes. The animals...

    12/07/2017 - 14:41 Animals, Oceans, Physiology
  • News

    AI eavesdrops on dolphins and discovers six unknown click types

    A new computer program has an ear for dolphin chatter.

    The algorithm uncovered six previously unknown types of dolphin echolocation clicks in underwater recordings from the Gulf of Mexico, researchers report online December 7 in PLOS Computational Biology. Identifying which species produce the newly discovered click varieties could help scientists better keep tabs on wild dolphin...

    12/07/2017 - 14:00 Artificial Intelligence, Animals
  • Introducing

    This new dinosaur species was one odd duck

    It may have walked like a duck and swum like a penguin, but a flipper-limbed creature discovered in what is now Mongolia was no bird. The strange new species is the first known nonavian dinosaur that could both run and swim, researchers say.

    To compensate for a long swanlike neck, probably used for dipping underwater for fish, this dino’s center of mass shifted toward its hips, allowing...

    12/06/2017 - 13:29 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • News

    Scallops’ amazing eyes use millions of tiny, square crystals to see

    There’s stiff competition for the most elaborate eyeballs in the animal kingdom, but a mollusk that turns up on dinner plates might be a finalist.

    Each of a scallop’s eyes — it has up to 200 of them, each about a millimeter in diameter — contains millions of perfectly square, flat crystals that build up into a mirrored mosaic, new research shows. And that shiny surface is curved in a way...

    11/30/2017 - 14:08 Animals, Biophysics