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E.g., 12/10/2017
E.g., 12/10/2017
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  • 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 Computing, 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
  • News

    Bats in China carry all the ingredients to make a new SARS virus

    Viruses in bats may have mixed and matched genes to create the virus that gave rise to the deadly SARS outbreak in 2003, a new study suggests. And it could happen again. All of the ingredients needed to create a new SARS virus are found among viruses currently infecting horseshoe bats, researchers report November 30 in PLOS Pathogens.

    The viruses “are poised to cause future outbreaks,”...

    11/30/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Microbiology, Animals
  • News

    Jackpot of fossilized pterosaur eggs unearthed in China

    Hundreds of eggs belonging to a species of flying reptile that lived alongside dinosaurs are giving scientists a peek into the earliest development of the animals.

    The find includes at least 16 partial embryos, several still preserved in 3-D. Those embryos suggest that the animals were able to walk, but not fly, soon after hatching, researchers report in the Dec. 1 Science.

    Led by...

    11/30/2017 - 14:00 Animals, Paleontology
  • It's Alive

    Studying giant tortoise flips without tipping the animals over is a delicate business

    It would be a memorable sight. But it would also be so wrong to tip over Galápagos giant tortoises to see how shell shape affects their efforts to leg-pump, neck-stretch and rock right-side up again.

    Shell shape matters, says evolutionary biologist Ylenia Chiari, though not the way she expected. It’s taken years, plus special insights from a coauthor who more typically studies scorpions...

    11/30/2017 - 09:00 Animals, Biophysics, Evolution
  • Science Ticker

    Here’s yet more evidence that the mythical yeti was probably a bear

    Campfire legends of massive, shaggy bipeds called yetis are grounded in a less mysterious truth: bears.

    Eight samples of remains such as fur, bones and teeth purportedly from mountain-dwelling yetis actually come from three different kinds of bears that live in the Himalayas, researchers report November 29 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. A ninth sample turned out to come from...

    11/28/2017 - 19:06 Animals, Paleontology
  • News

    Most blue whales are ‘righties,’ except for this one move

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    Blue whales, it turns out, are a tad ambidextrous.

    When hunting in deep water, the whales tend to be “right-handed,” lunging at krill while twisting 180 degrees or less onto their right side. But when gobbling up the tiny crustaceans near the surface, the whales tend to be lefties, launching themselves upward while performing a 360-degree barrel roll to the left,...

    11/28/2017 - 14:00 Animals, Oceans, Ecology
  • News

    Rough lessons can lessen the pull of human scent on a mosquito

    DENVER – After unpleasant lessons in the lab, mosquitoes can learn some restraint in their zest for pursuing the scent of human skin.

    The test, a kind of aversion therapy for mosquitoes to see if they can associate smells with bad experiences, was reported at the annual Entomological Society of America meeting.

    “Mosquitoes have this very challenging task of finding food that’s...

    11/27/2017 - 10:00 Animals, Physiology