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  • News

    Killer whales follow postmenopausal leaders

    A clue to the evolution of menopause may come from older female killer whales who often take the lead in salmon hunts.Among the whales that feast on chinook along the coast of the Pacific Northwest, females past reproductive age often lead hunting parties, especially in fish-sparse years, says Lauren Brent of the University of Exeter in England.Male killer whales rarely live longer than 50 years...
    03/05/2015 - 12:00 Animals, Evolution
  • Science Ticker

    Arsenic spurs adaptation in Argentinian villagers

    The groundwater in San Antonio de los Cobres in northwestern Argentina averages around 200 micrograms of arsenic per liter, 20 times the level deemed acceptable by the World Health Organization. A genetic analysis reveals that people from this region have different genes for the liver enzyme that breaks down arsenic than do people...
    03/05/2015 - 08:00 Health, Evolution
  • Wild Things

    Insects may undermine trees’ ability to store carbon

    Trees are often promoted as an important tool for combating climate change. That’s because trees take in carbon dioxide from the air and lock it away in wood and soil for years. But trees may not be as great of carbon sinks as we thought, a...
    03/04/2015 - 11:08 Animals, Climate
  • Science Ticker

    How pigeons bob and weave through obstacles

    View the videoTo dodge obstacles, pigeons have to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. By altering their wing posture, the birds can successfully navigate tight spots, researchers report March 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.Harvard University researchers filmed and...
    03/03/2015 - 15:52 Animals, Biophysics
  • Science Ticker

    Plant growth patterns changing on much of Earth’s surface

    Patterns in when and how much plants grow have changed markedly over the past 30 years, scientists report March 2 in Nature Climate Change.Researchers looked at satellite data of vegetation on the Earth’s surface from 1981 to 2012. They examined 21 markers of plant growth, including the dates when plants start sprouting and losing...
    03/02/2015 - 15:40 Plants, Climate
  • News

    Tropical plant knows whose bill is in its flowers

    Some plants crave a long bird bill. One tropical plant can even recognize which kind of hummingbird is slurping its nectar by the shape of its bill, scientists report online March 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.In Heliconia tortuosa, long-billed hummingbirds can reach in and guzzle more...
    03/02/2015 - 15:00 Plants, Animals, Ecology
  • Wild Things

    Delicate spider takes down tough prey by attacking weak spots

    Like a miniature martial artist, the Loxosceles gaucho recluse spider can sneak up on a heavily armored harvestman (a type of arachnid), identify its weak spots and quickly disable its meal, a new study reveals.This species of recluse spider lives in and around Sao...
    02/27/2015 - 15:05 Animals
  • Science Ticker

    Superfast evolution observed in soil bacteria

    You can take the flagella out of the bacteria, but you can’t take the flagella out of the bacteria’s genetic arsenal.By deleting a gene that controls flagella growth, Tiffany Taylor of the University of Reading in England and colleagues engineered the soil bacteria Pseudomonas fluorescens so they lacked their tiny tails. Bacteria that can move around and find food are more likely to...
    02/27/2015 - 09:00 Evolution, Microbiology
  • News

    Sexual conflict in mosquitoes may have worsened spread of malaria

    The relentless spread of malaria may be largely a side effect of a long, slow battle of the sexes among mosquitoes.Certain reproductive quirks of male and female Anopheles mosquitoes look as if they evolved in some back-and-forth scenario, researchers report in the Feb. 27 Science. In four of 16 species...
    02/26/2015 - 14:00 Evolution, Animals, Biomedicine
  • News in Brief

    Beetle RNA makes crops a noxious meal

    To keep pests at bay, try giving them a taste of their own genes. Hungry beetles spurn crops bearing the insects’ genetic material, scientists report in the Feb. 27 Science. When pests munch the engineered plants, beetle RNA in the leaves switches off key genes in the bugs.The Colorado potato beetle is a voracious...
    02/26/2015 - 14:00 Plants, Animals, Agriculture