Life

  1. Animals

    Maybe what Polly wants is a new toy

    Changing the toys in a parrot's cage may ease the bird's tendency to fear new things.

    By
  2. Animals

    Some female birds prefer losers

    When a female Japanese quail watches two males clash, she tends to prefer the loser.

    By
  3. Animals

    The secret appetite of cleaner wrasses

    The little reef fish that nibble parasites off bigger fish that stop by for service actually prefer to nibble the customers.

    By
  4. Animals

    City Song: Birds sing higher near urban traffic

    Birds in noisier city spots tend to sing at a higher pitch than do members of the same species in quieter neighborhoods.

    By
  5. Plants

    Stout Potatoes: Armed with a new gene, spuds fend off blight

    Splicing a gene from a blight-resistant wild potato into varieties used for consumption could lead to blight immunity for all spuds.

    By
  6. Paleontology

    Learning from the Present

    New field studies of unfossilized bones, as well as databases full of information about current fossil excavations and previous fossil finds, are providing insights into how complete—or incomplete—Earth's fossil record may be.

    By
  7. Paleontology

    Secrets of Dung: Ancient poop yields nuclear DNA

    Researchers have extracted remnants of DNA from cells preserved in the desiccated dung of an extinct ground sloth.

    By
  8. Animals

    Killer sex, literally

    Videotapes of yellow garden spiders show that if a female doesn't murder her mate, he'll expire during sex anyway.

    By
  9. Plants

    Crop genes diffuse in seedy ways

    A study of sugar beets in France suggests that genes may escape to wild relatives through seeds accidentally transported by humans rather than through drifting pollen.

    By
  10. Animals

    Flight burns less fuel than stopovers

    The first measurements of energy use in migrating songbirds confirms that birds burn more energy during stopovers along the way than during their total flying time.

    By
  11. Life

    All the World’s a Phage

    There are an amazing number of bacteriophages—viruses that kill bacteria—in the world.

    By
  12. Animals

    Sumo wrestling keeps big ants in line

    In a Malaysian ant species, the large workers establish a hierarchy by engaging in spectacular shaking contests.

    By