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  • Wild Things

    Rising temperatures may cause problems for cold-blooded critters

    Last year in the pages of Science News, I tried to answer a question: Will the world’s plants, animals and other organisms be able to adapt to climate change? There wasn’t an easy answer to that question, in part because the effects of climate change are varied (they include rising...

    05/20/2015 - 15:00 Animals, Climate
  • Science Ticker

    Crows safeguard sticks to speed future food-finding forays

    New Caledonian crows are protective of their tools. The birds safeguard the sticks they use to find food and become even more careful with the tools as the cost of losing them goes up.

    Researchers videotaped captive and wild Corvus moneduloides crows and tracked what the birds did with their sticks. In between eating, the birds tucked the tools under their toes or left them in...

    05/20/2015 - 08:00 Animals
  • News

    Snagging blood clots upgrades stroke care

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    Taking a cue from cardiology, doctors have begun treating strokes caused by blood clots in the brain by the most direct route imaginable — approaching the blockage from inside the artery.

    The concept is well-tested. Obstructed heart vessels are routinely opened with balloon-tipped catheters threaded up to the blockage. Attempts to clear...

    05/19/2015 - 15:10 Health, Clinical Trials
  • How Bizarre

    Pandas’ gut bacteria resemble carnivores’

    A giant panda may look like a teddy bear, but it’s got the guts of a grizzly.

    Microbes living in the bamboo lovers’ intestines match those of meat eaters, researchers report May 19 in mBio. Panda poop lacks the useful plant-digesting bacteria typically found in the feces of other herbivores, an analysis of 45 giant pandas...

    05/19/2015 - 09:00 Animals, Microbes, Health
  • Feature

    Typical American diet can damage immune system

    Blair River was described as “a big guy with a big heart.” The 575-pound former high school wrestler from Mesa, Ariz., became such a fixture at the Heart Attack Grill that he was recruited to be the restaurant’s official spokesperson. His satirical ads made him a minor celebrity in central Arizona.  He died in 2011 at age 29 — not because of his heart but from complications of influenza.

    ...
    05/18/2015 - 13:00 Microbiology, Nutrition
  • Wild Things

    A summer challenge: Observe nature

    One morning in early April in St. Augustine, Fla., I went for a walk. My goal had been the beach, but I never made it that far. Near the house where I was staying, I passed a mudflat along the Mantanzas River, and I noticed the ground moving. But it wasn’t really the ground — there were thousands of tiny fiddler crabs dancing about in the sun. As I approached the crabs, they scuttled into...

    05/15/2015 - 12:08 Animals, Plants
  • News

    Fruit flies flee from shadows

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    The shadow of a predator overhead sends fruit flies into a tizzy. In response to an aerial threat, flies exhibit behaviors that echo the human state of fear, scientists report in the June 1 Current Biology.

    Finding signs of a fearlike state in the fruit fly Drosophila...

    05/14/2015 - 12:00 Neuroscience, Animals
  • News

    Nighttime light pollution sabotages sex pheromones of moths

    Harsh lighting doesn’t ruin the chemistry of romantic trysts just for humans. Artificial lighting can miscue female moths into sending out skimpy, and possibly stinky, scents instead of their usual potent come-hithers.

    In lab tests exposing cabbage moths to the equivalent of LED street lighting, females produced on average only about one- to two-thirds the amounts of their usual...

    05/13/2015 - 07:00 Animals, Conservation
  • Wild Things

    Animal moms sacrifice a lot — sometimes even themselves

    In the animal world, just like the human one, sometimes it’s not easy being mom. Fellow blogger Laura Sanders will tell you all about the trials and tribulations of being a mother to Homo sapiens. But some moms of the animal kingdom make sacrifices that go far beyond carrying a baby for nine months or paying for college.

    ...
    05/08/2015 - 14:00 Animals
  • Feature

    How did Earth get its water?

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    Earth — a planet of oceans, rivers and rainforests — grew up in an interplanetary desert.

    When the solar system formed about 4.6 billion years ago, shards of calcium- and aluminum-rich minerals stuck together, building ever-larger pebbles and boulders that smashed together and assembled the rocky planets, including Earth.

    But Earth’s...

    05/06/2015 - 11:14 Planetary Science, Astronomy