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  • News

    Giant pandas may have only recently switched to eating mostly bamboo

    When it comes to deciding what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, pandas have it easy: Bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo. But that wasn’t always the case.

    Although modern giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) chow almost exclusively on bamboo in the mountain forests of central China, these bears’ diet was much broader not so long ago, researchers report online January 31 in Current Biology....

    01/31/2019 - 11:00 Animals, Evolution, Paleontology
  • News

    Male birds’ sexy songs may not advertise their brains after all

    After some 20 years of theorizing, a scientist is publicly renouncing the “beautiful hypothesis” that male birds’ sexy songs could indicate the quality of their brains.

    Behavioral ecologist Steve Nowicki of Duke University called birdsong “unreliable” as a clue for choosy females seeking a smart mate, in a paper published in the March 2018 Animal Behaviour. He will also soon publish...

    01/25/2019 - 07:00 Animals, Evolution
  • News

    A four-legged robot hints at how ancient tetrapods walked

    Orobates pabsti lived between 280 million and 290 million years ago, but it was pretty advanced at doing the locomotion.

    Using computer simulations, re-created skeletons, fossil trackways and a walking robot dubbed the OroBOT, scientists found that this ancient four-footed creature had a surprisingly efficient gait. The result suggests that developing a more advanced way of walking may...

    01/16/2019 - 13:27 Paleontology, Evolution
  • News

    A jumping spider mom nurses her brood for weeks on milk

    Mom nurses her young for weeks on milk that has four times the protein of a cow’s. Yet this mother’s not a mammal. She’s a jumping spider with eight legs and a taste for fruit flies.

    We mammals have named ourselves after our mammary glands. Yet other animals, from tsetse flies to pigeons, secrete their own versions of milk for their babies. The newly discovered nursing in Toxeus magnus...

    11/29/2018 - 16:03 Animals, Evolution
  • The Science Life

    How locust ecology inspired an opera

    Locust: The Opera finds a novel way to doom a soprano: species extinction.

    The libretto, written by entomologist Jeff Lockwood of the University of Wyoming in Laramie, features a scientist, a rancher and a dead insect. The scientist tenor agonizes over why the Rocky Mountain locust went extinct at the dawn of the 20th century. He comes up with hypotheses, three of which unravel to music...

    11/26/2018 - 10:00 Animals, Evolution, Science & Society
  • News

    Sound-absorbent wings and fur help some moths evade bats

    Some moths aren’t so easy for bats to detect.

    The cabbage tree emperor moth has wings with tiny scales that absorb sound waves sent out by bats searching for food. That absorption reduces the echoes that bounce back to bats, allowing Bunaea alcinoe to avoid being so noticeable to the nocturnal predators, researchers report online November 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of...

    11/14/2018 - 06:00 Animals, Evolution