Biology

Swamp Sparrows Have Time-Honored Song Traditions, Study Shows

By faithfully copying the most popular songs, swamp sparrows (Melospiza georgiana) create time-honored song traditions that can be just as long-lasting as human traditions, according to a new study, published in the journal Nature Communications. In fact, song traditions in swamp sparrows often last hundreds of years, with some songs …

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Research Reveals Secrets of Short-Faced Niata Cow

New research published in the journal Scientific Reports shows the Niata cow, a now-extinct animal with a short face like a bulldog that fascinated Charles Darwin when he first saw it in Argentina 180 years ago, was a unique breed and — unlike some bulldogs — did not suffer breathing …

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Scientists Discover New Type of Photosynthesis

The vast majority of life on our planet uses red light (680 to 700 nm) in the process of photosynthesis, but the new type uses near-infrared light (750 nm) instead: it was detected in a wide range of cyanobacteria, one of the largest groups of bacteria on Earth, where they …

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Scientists Synthesize First Artificial Human Prion

A team of scientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has created the first artificial human prion. Thioflavin S positive amyloid plaques in the hippocampus (left) and cortex of lab mice inoculated with the artificial human prion, rhuPrion. Image credit: Kim et al, doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04584-z. Human prions — …

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Study: Honeybees Understand Concept of Zero

The honeybee (Apis mellifera) has joined the ranks of dolphins, parrots, and primates, in demonstrating the ability to understand the concept of zero numerosity. The study appears in the journal Science. A honeybee (Apis mellifera). Image credit: Vijaya Narasimha. While intuitive to modern humans, the full understanding of zero is …

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Mongooses Reward Helpful Groupmates, New Research Finds

Dwarf mongooses (Helogale parvula) provide more grooming to those groupmates who contribute more to sentinel behavior — acting as a raised guard to look out for danger, according to new research from the University of Bristol, UK. Group of dwarf mongooses in which different cooperative acts are exchanged even with …

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Study: Intense Iridescence Confuses Bumblebees

Although using flashy colors as camouflage may seem counterintuitive, iridescence obstructs the bumblebee’s ability to identify shape, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports. This is a bumblebee landing on an iridescent target. Image credit: Karin Kjernsmo. Iridescence is a taxonomically widespread and striking form of …

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