Earth

  • Photo of Songbirds’ reproductive success reduced by natural gas compressor noise

    Songbirds’ reproductive success reduced by natural gas compressor noise

    Some songbirds are not dissuaded by constant, loud noise emitted by natural gas pipeline compressors and will establish nests nearby. The number of eggs they lay is unaffected by the din, but their reproductive success ultimately is diminished. That’s the conclusion of a team of Penn State researchers who conducted an innovative, elaborate study that included unceasing playback of recorded…

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  • Photo of A magnetic field reversal 42,000 years ago may have contributed to mass extinctions

    A magnetic field reversal 42,000 years ago may have contributed to mass extinctions

    A flip-flop of Earth’s magnetic poles between 42,000 and 41,000 years ago briefly but dramatically shrank the magnetic field’s strength — and may have triggered a cascade of environmental crises on Earth, a new study suggests. With the help of new, precise carbon dating obtained from ancient tree fossils, the researchers correlated shifts in climate patterns, large mammal extinctions and…

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  • Photo of Want to know how fish see the world? Build them a TV…

    Want to know how fish see the world? Build them a TV…

    Researchers have built a television display to find out how clownfish see the world. Scientists have known for a long time that many animals see colours differently from humans. In animal vision studies, televisions and computer monitors are often used to display images and colours. But the problem is, screens for human use generally use three colours – red, green and…

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  • Photo of Unusual breeding behavior reported in treefrogs for the first time

    Unusual breeding behavior reported in treefrogs for the first time

    Paranapiacaba Treefrogs (Bokermannohyla astartea) mate and lay spawn in small pools of water inside the tanks of bromeliad plants, Leo Ramos Malagoli from the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil and colleagues report in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The 3cm-long tadpoles must then make their way to a stream to complete development. The study, publishing February 17, is the first…

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  • Slow motion precursors give earthquakes the fast slip

    At a glacier near the South Pole, earth scientists have found evidence of a quiet, slow-motion fault slip that triggers strong, fast-slip earthquakes many miles away, according to Cornell University research published in Science Advances. During an earthquake, a fast slip happens when energy builds up underground and is released quickly along a fault. Blocks of earth rapidly slide against…

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  • Photo of Tropical paper wasps babysit for neighbors

    Tropical paper wasps babysit for neighbors

    Wasps provide crucial support to their extended families by babysitting at neighboring nests, according to new research by a team of biologists from the universities of Bristol, Exeter and UCL published today in Nature Ecology and Evolution. The findings suggest that animals should often seek to help more distant relatives if their closest kin are less in need. Dr. Patrick…

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  • Photo of Birds use massive magnetic maps to migrate—some could cover the whole world

    Birds use massive magnetic maps to migrate—some could cover the whole world

    Every year, billions of songbirds migrate thousands of miles between Europe and Africa—and then repeat that same journey again, year after year, to nest in exactly the same place that they chose on their first great journey. The remarkable navigational precision displayed by these tiny birds—as they travel alone over stormy seas, across vast deserts, and through extremes in weather…

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  • Photo of An inner sensor of body movement revealed in zebrafish

    An inner sensor of body movement revealed in zebrafish

    Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have revealed a central proprioceptive organ built directly into the central nervous system that acts as an inner movement sensor. The article was recently published in the journal Neuron. “To successfully move our bodies, we need a reliable sense of our own movement in time and space. This sense is provided by proprioceptor organs thought only…

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  • Sounds influence the developing brain earlier than previously thought

    Scientists have yet to answer the age-old question of whether or how sound shapes the minds of fetuses in the womb, and expectant mothers often wonder about the benefits of such activities as playing music during pregnancy. Now, in experiments in newborn mice, scientists at Johns Hopkins report that sounds appear to change “wiring” patterns in areas of the brain…

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  • Photo of Study: Humpback whales aren’t learning their songs from one another

    Study: Humpback whales aren’t learning their songs from one another

    Humpback and bowhead whales are the only mammals other than humans thought to progressively change the songs they sing through a process of cultural learning. But maybe the humpbacks are no longer part of that trio. Humpbacks might be singing songs that are not as ‘cultured’ as once assumed. A new study by a University at Buffalo researcher is directly…

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