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  • News

    Humans, birds communicate to collaborate

    When asked the right way, a savvy bird species steers African hunter-gatherers to honey. All it takes is a loud trill followed by a grunt that sounds like “brrr-hm.”

    Birds known as greater honeyguides (Indicator indicator) lead hunter-gatherers in Mozambique to honey-rich bees’ nests after hearing humans make this signature call, say evolutionary ecologist Claire Spottiswoode of...

    07/21/2016 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution, Animals
  • Science Ticker

    Some primates prefer nectar with a bigger alcohol kick

    Some primates have a taste for the good stuff. Groups of chimpanzees sometimes indulge in alcoholic palm sap, and some primates, including humans, produce a form of the enzyme responsible for breaking down alcohol that gets them more bang for their buck in alcohol digestion. Higher alcohol content...

    07/20/2016 - 14:00 Animals, Ecology
  • Wild Things

    Tiny ants move a ton of soil

    Those little piles of dirt that ant colonies leave on the ground are an indication that ants are busy underground. And they’re moving more soil and sediment than you might think. A new study finds that, over a hectare, colonies of Trachymyrmex...

    07/20/2016 - 09:00 Animals
  • News in Brief

    No one-fits-all healthy diet exists

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Weight gain may depend on how an individual’s genes react to certain diets, a new study in mice suggests.

    Four strains of mice fared differently on four different diets, William Barrington of North Carolina State University in Raleigh reported July 15 at the Allied Genetics Conference.

    One strain, the A/J mouse, was nearly impervious to dietary...

    07/18/2016 - 17:01 Nutrition, Genetics
  • News

    Two groups spread early agriculture

    The cradle of agricultural civilization was culturally diverse.

    Two societies lived side-by-side 10,000 years ago in the rich Near Eastern valleys of the Fertile Crescent, where humans first learned to farm, a new study finds. Over time, one group expanded west, carrying agriculture into Europe. The other spread east,...

    07/14/2016 - 14:27 Anthropology, Archaeology, Genetics
  • Feature

    A healthy old age may trump immortality

    On the inevitability scale, death and taxes are at the top. Aging is close behind.

    It’s unlikely that scientists will ever find a way to avoid death. And taxes are completely out of their hands. But aging, recent research suggests, is a problem that science just might be able to fix.

    As biological scientists see it, aging isn’t just accumulating more candles on your birthday cake....

    07/13/2016 - 11:12 Physiology, Human Development, Cells
  • Feature

    Organisms age in myriad ways — and some might not even bother

    The scene was stranger than it looked, even by Las Vegas standards: Two young men pull up in a U-Haul truck to a motel outside the city. They check in and move a cooler into their room. They appear to be handling something of importance, and look to see if the ice needs replenishing. Inside the cooler is not the makings of epic hangovers but instead an experiment in eternal youth.

    Tucked...

    07/13/2016 - 11:09 Animals, Evolution, Plants
  • Wild Things

    Beetles that battle make better moms than ones that never fight

    For burying beetles, it’s not whether a female wins or loses, it’s whether she plays the game.

    Female Nicrophorus vespilloides beetles lay their eggs in dead bodies — specifically, the bodies of small mammals, like mice. But dead mammals are hard to find, and burying beetles...

    07/11/2016 - 15:19 Animals
  • News

    Frigate birds fly nonstop for months

    Even Amelia Earhart couldn’t compete with the great frigate bird. She flew nonstop across the United States for 19 hours in 1932; the frigate bird can stay aloft up to two months without landing, a new study finds. The seabird saves energy on transoceanic treks by capitalizing on the large-scale movement patterns of the...

    06/30/2016 - 14:00 Animals, Ecology
  • Scicurious

    Empathy for animals is all about us

    There’s an osprey nest just outside Jeffrey Brodeur’s office at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. “I literally turn to my left and they’re right there,” says Brodeur, the organization’s communications and outreach specialist. WHOI started live-streaming the osprey nest in 2005.

    For the first few years, few people really noticed. All that changed in 2014. An...

    06/29/2016 - 07:00 Science & Society, Psychology, Neuroscience