Spiders spend their time spinning perfect, intricate webs that are stronger than steel and more elastic than a rubber band. But this feat requires very little brainpower. A new study indicates that a spider’s legs act without oversight from its brain, constructing webs with the same autonomy as a human heart beat.
A burnt paw of a brushtail possum is pictured as it is nursed by WIRES volunteers in Merimbula, Australia January 9, 2020. An estimated 1 billion animals have been killed or injured in Australia’s wil […]
Continue reading “Loss of cultural song diversity and the convergence of songs in a declining Hawaiian forest bird community | Royal Society Open Science”
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 “Wow, Spain Sure Has a Lot of Pigs”
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 “A Zombie Gene Protects Elephants From Cancer | Quanta Magazine”
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 “Parrotfish Have Been Caught ‘Farming’ Coral Reefs – Atlas Obscura”
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 “Business Travel Got You Down? Rent a Goldfish to Keep You Company – 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 “How the demand for sand is killing rivers – BBC News”
Demand for sand in Kenya is driving the illegal sand harvesting industry, causing loss of ecosystems and even deaths.