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  • News

    Pandas’ share of protein calories from bamboo rivals wolves’ from meat

    Giant pandas eat bamboo like a wolf in vegan clothing.

    In the wild, pandas devour massive amounts of bamboo and digest it so efficiently that protein from the plants probably supplies at least half of the animals’ calories, a study finds. That’s about on par with measurements of how many calories from protein make up the carnivorous diets of wolves and feral cats, conservation biologist...

    05/02/2019 - 15:22 Animals, Physiology, Conservation
  • News

    A dinosaur’s running gait may reveal insights into the history of bird flight

    An early winged dinosaur couldn’t fly, but it could run. Now, with assists from a robotic dino and young ostriches wearing artificial wings, a study suggests that the dinosaur’s running gait caused its wings to flap, in what may have been an evolutionary precursor to flight.

    Caudipteryx was a peacock-sized dinosaur with feathered and winglike forelimbs that lived about 125 million years...

    05/02/2019 - 14:11 Paleontology, Animals
  • Feature

    Can Silicon Valley entrepreneurs make crickets the next chicken?

    Trina Chiasson was raised in a log cabin, learned to spin plates in Chicago’s circus arts community, dreamed up a software company and three years later sold it to a bigger company. Her next challenge: building a business, called Ovipost, that brings better technology to cricket farming.

    “I didn’t know any cricket farmers growing up, I know you’ll be shocked to learn,” she says. Yet she’...

    05/02/2019 - 07:00 Agriculture, Animals, Sustainability
  • News in Brief

    Hippo poop cycles silicon through the East African environment

    Hippos keep the nutrient silicon on the move through the East African environment.

    Each day, the giant grazers transport nearly half a metric ton of silicon, an important nutrient for both plants and animals, from land to water, scientists report online May 1 in Science Advances. The hippos forage for silicon-bearing grass on land and then excrete it into the waters where they lounge....

    05/01/2019 - 14:06 Animals, Ecology
  • News

    How aphids sacrifice themselves to fix their homes with fatty goo

    However badly that home renovation goes, be glad you’re not a young aphid.

    Colonies of tiny Nipponaphis monzeni aphids in eastern Asia use their own young as part repair crew, part repair goo. The tiny fluffs of juvenile insects end up dying after gushing white glop from their bodies to repair a hole in the wall protecting their colony in Asian winter hazel trees. New details of this...

    04/29/2019 - 07:00 Animals
  • News

    Endangered green sea turtles may be making a comeback in the U.S. Pacific

    Beleaguered populations of green sea turtles living in and around Hawaii and American Pacific island territories are increasing in number. 

    From 2002 to 2015, scuba diving researchers circumnavigated 53 islands, atolls and coral reefs throughout the U.S. Pacific, conducting the first comprehensive survey in that region of the turtles’ ocean habitats. Over the 13 years, the divers counted...

    04/26/2019 - 07:00 Animals, Ecosystems, Oceans
  • The Science Life

    A scientist used chalk in a box to show that bats use sunsets to migrate

    When it comes to migration science, birds rule. Although many mammals — antelopes, whales, bats — migrate, too, scientists know far less about how those animals do it. But a new device, invented by animal navigation researcher Oliver Lindecke, could open a new way to test how far-ranging bats find their way.

    Lindecke, of Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany, has...

    04/19/2019 - 08:00 Animals
  • It's Alive

    Parenting chores cut into how much these bird dads fool around

    The extreme dads of the bird world do all the work raising chicks while females fight intruders. The result: Male black coucals don’t sleep around as much when busy parenting.

    On occasion, a male black coucal (Centropus grillii) slips over to another male’s nest to sire a chick. The demands of incubating eggs, however, reduce a male’s excursions about 17 percent, on average, compared...

    04/17/2019 - 08:00 Animals, Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Testing mosquito pee could help track the spread of diseases

    There are no teensy cups. But a urine test for wild mosquitoes has for the first time proved it can give an early warning that local pests are spreading diseases.

    Mosquito traps remodeled with a pee-collecting card picked up telltale genetic traces of West Nile and two other worrisome viruses circulating in the wild, researchers in Australia report April 4 in the Journal of Medical...

    04/05/2019 - 08:00 Health, Genetics, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Cats recognize their own names

    Whether practical, dramatical or pragmatical, domestic cats appear to recognize the familiar sound of their own names and can distinguish them from other words, researchers report April 4 in Scientific Reports.

    While dog responses to human behavior and speech have received much attention (SN: 10/1/16, p. 11), researchers are just scratching the surface of human-cat interactions. Research...

    04/04/2019 - 09:00 Animals