Animals

  • Photo of When is David Attenborough’s Life in Colour on TV?

    When is David Attenborough’s Life in Colour on TV?

    The BBC’s new nature mini-series Life in Colour has been a long long time coming. In fact, Sir David Attenborough, who hosts the show, originally conceived the idea of a documentary delving into nature’s use of colour in the 1950s. However, as most screens were black and white then, the concept was shelved. Fortunately, by 2021, such a show is…

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  • Photo of Conservation paradox: The pros and cons of recreational hunting

    Conservation paradox: The pros and cons of recreational hunting

    Recreational hunting—especially hunting of charismatic species for their trophies—raises ethical and moral concerns. Yet recreational hunting is frequently suggested as a way to conserve nature and support local people’s livelihoods. In a new article published in the journal One Earth, scientists from the University of Helsinki in Finland and Flinders University in Australia have reviewed more than 1,000 studies on…

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  • Photo of In dueling ants vying to become queen, behavioral and molecular cues quickly determine who will win

    In dueling ants vying to become queen, behavioral and molecular cues quickly determine who will win

    In one species of ants, workers duel to establish new leadership after the death of their queen. While these sparring matches stretch for more than a month, changes in behavior and gene expression in the first three days of dueling can accurately predict who will triumph, according to a New York University study published in the journal Genes & Development.…

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  • Photo of Is odor the secret to bats’ sex appeal?

    Is odor the secret to bats’ sex appeal?

    When falling in love, humans often pay attention to looks. Many non-human animals also choose a sexual partner based on appearance. Male birds may sport flashy feathers to attract females, lionesses prefer lions with thicker manes and colorful male guppies with large spots attract the most females. But bats are active in the dark. How do they attract mates? Mariana…

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  • The original antigenic sin: How childhood infections could shape pandemics

    A child’s first influenza infection shapes their immunity to future airborne flu viruses — including emerging pandemic strains. But not all flu strains spur the same initial immune defense, according to new findings published today by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine virologists in the journal PLOS Pathogens. “These results are relevant right now to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said senior…

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  • Photo of Temperature affects susceptibility of newts to skin-eating fungus

    Temperature affects susceptibility of newts to skin-eating fungus

    Eastern newt populations in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada are at greatest risk of infection with a new skin-eating fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), according to a study published February 18 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Matthew Gray of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, and colleagues. Bsal was discovered killing salamanders in the Netherlands in…

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  • Photo of New protected area relieves pressure on primates and pangolins in South Sudan

    New protected area relieves pressure on primates and pangolins in South Sudan

    The future of globally important wildlife—including endangered chimpanzees and pangolins—looks a little brighter after over 17,000 hectares of severely threatened forest habitat in an ecologically unique region of South Sudan were granted formal protection. The regazettement of Bangangai Game Reserve will ensure that this unhailed haven of biodiversity is brought under more effective management at what is a crucial juncture…

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  • Photo of Wolves, dogs and dingoes, oh my

    Wolves, dogs and dingoes, oh my

    Dogs are generally considered the first domesticated animal, while its ancestor is generally considered to be the wolf, but where the Australian dingo fits into this framework is still debated, according to a retired Penn State anthropologist. “Indigenous Australians understood that there was something different about the dingoes and the colonial dogs,” said Pat Shipman, retired adjunct professor of anthropology,…

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  • Photo of Why you’re stroking your cat completely wrong (and how to do it right)

    Why you’re stroking your cat completely wrong (and how to do it right)

    What’s the best way to stroke a cat? Answer: probably not the way you’re doing it. Although you may think petting is a proven way to bond with your moggy, there’s no guarantee they’ll enjoy this physical contact. As Dr Lauren Finka, cat behavioural expert from Nottingham Trent University, explains: “Although some cats certainly do like a lot of petting, lots…

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  • Photo of Perceiving predators: Understanding how plants ‘sense’ herbivore attack

    Perceiving predators: Understanding how plants ‘sense’ herbivore attack

    Nature has its way of maintaining balance. This statement rightly holds true for plants that are eaten by herbivores—insects or even mammals. Interestingly, these plants do not just silently allow themselves to be consumed and destroyed; in fact, they have evolved a defense system to warn them of predator attacks and potentially even ward them off. The defense systems arise…

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