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  • Wild Things

    Birds large and small hop over obstacles in similar ways

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    A tiny quail and a huge ostrich would seem to have little in common given their 500-fold difference in size. But when faced with an obstacle in their path, the birds tackle it in the same way, scientists report October 29 in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

    Aleksandra Birn-Jeffery of the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield, England, and colleagues wanted to know...

    10/30/2014 - 07:00 Animals
  • News in Brief

    Flightless birds’ history upset by ancient DNA

    Madagascar’s elephant birds — which weighed as much as three or four people and went extinct several hundred years ago — turn out to be the closest known relatives of New Zealand’s chicken-sized kiwi.

    This genealogical surprise is “a slap in the face” to a long-standing idea of how many flightless birds evolved, says evolutionary biologist Alan Cooper  of the University of Adelaide in...

    05/22/2014 - 17:56 Evolution, Animals, Genetics
  • Wild Things

    A guide to the world’s biggest flightless birds

    Residents of Hertfordshire in England may have gotten a glimpse of an unusual site in the last few weeks — a large, flightless bird called a greater rhea that looks somewhat like an ostrich. The female, named Rita (and nicknamed Chris by locals after English singer-songwriter Chris Rea), escaped from captivity last month and has been on the loose ever since. She’s been spotted wandering canola...

    04/25/2014 - 16:31 Animals