The effects of population decline on culturally transmitted behaviours in animals have rarely been described, but may have major implications to population viability. Learned vocal signals in birds are of critical importance to behaviours associated with reproduction, intrasexual interactions and group cohesion, and the complexity of vocal signals such as song can serve as an honest signal of an individual’s quality as well as the viability of a population. In this study, we examined how rapid population declines recently experienced by Hawaiian honeycreepers on the island of Kaua‘i (USA) may have influenced the diversity, complexity and similarity of learned honeycreeper songs.
Continue reading “Loss of cultural song diversity and the convergence of songs in a declining Hawaiian forest bird community | Royal Society Open Science”
There are now enough pigs in Spain that technically everyone could have one, and there’d be pigs to spare. Per the Guardian, Spanish environmental ministry figures reveal that the country now has 50 million oinking piggies, which is about 3.5 million more than the number of humans. That’s the first recorded time the nation has had more pigs than people.
Continue reading “Wow, Spain Sure Has a Lot of Pigs”
Elephants did not evolve to become huge animals until after they turned a bit of genetic junk into a unique defense against inevitable tumors.
Continue reading “A Zombie Gene Protects Elephants From Cancer | Quanta Magazine”
Octopus gardens get all the attention from songwriters, but maybe it’s time someone wrote a ditty about parrotfish algae farms. According to new research, the fascinating fish—also responsible for pooping out Hawaii’s white-sand beaches—actually “farms” its food in coral reefs.
Continue reading “Parrotfish Have Been Caught ‘Farming’ Coral Reefs – Atlas Obscura”
A number of hotels have begun offering in-room fish-for-rent service. The latest to join the admittedly modest trend is the Van der Valk Hotel Charleroi Airport in Brussels, where a photo of one of the room companions—just €3.50 per night—recently took off on social media.
Continue reading “Business Travel Got You Down? Rent a Goldfish to Keep You Company – Atlas Obscura”
Demand for sand in Kenya is driving the illegal sand harvesting industry, causing loss of ecosystems and even deaths.
Continue reading “How the demand for sand is killing rivers – BBC News”
Ancient whales had extremely sharp predator teeth similar to lions, Australian scientists said Wednesday in a discovery they believe debunks theories the mammals used their teeth to filter feed like today’s gentle giants.
There are two major groups of whales—toothed creatures such as killer whales, and baleen, which filter plankton and small fish from the ocean for food with special bristle-like structures in their mouths.
Using 3D scanners, Museums Victoria and Monash University palaeontologists made digital teeth models of fossil baleen whales and today’s mammals from specimen collections around the world.
Continue reading “Ancient whales were predators not gentle giants”
Populations of gannets, puffins and other marine birds are in freefall, but a crucial scientific study to pinpoint the causes is being blocked, say experts
Continue reading “Britain’s seabird colonies face catastrophe as warming waters disrupt their food supply | Environment | The Guardian”