Study in sociality means it's finally time to take a few survival tips from an endangered species.
That need most of us have to bond with others? The drive to maintain a semblance of social acceptability when we would rather hide under the blankets in ratty pajamas binge watching Netflix? Turns out, it's not just good manners and a way to ensure regular showering -- it may also be an evolutionary trait that helps us survive tough times. A study of Barbary macaques in Northern Morocco suggests that natural selection may favor the ability to make social connections.Read More
Male dark fishing spiders have just one roll in the hay in them. After mating, the arachnids immediately curl up and die.
I know the human dating game can seem rough at times, but the fact of the matter is, we have it pretty good. Don't believe me? Consider if you will the sorry state of Dolomedes tenebrosus, the dark fishing spider. A recent study of the spiders, common around the American midwest, found that males of the species get a grand total of one shot at breeding -- immediately after copulation, their work on this Earth done, the creatures promptly curl up and die.Read More
Life in the wilderness is no bowl of cherries, and animals aren't exactly known for graciously sharing their food. One exception, though, may be Canadian pikas. A recent study from the University of Alberta shows that the little mammals actually prefer leftovers sometimes, choosing to dine on patches of vegetation that have already been grazed on -- and thus also pooped on -- by caterpillars. Exactly why isn't understood yet, but researchers suspect that the caterpillars' leavings may act as a sort of seasoning for the plants.Read More
A team of European penguin researchers found some unexpected results when they turned infrared heat sensing cameras on a group of emperor penguins they were studying. The outer layer of the birds feathers, they found, was actually colder than the surrounding air. While it goes against common sense, keeping their outermost layers ice-cold may actually help penguins stay warm deeper inside -- where it counts.Read More
Cheating men may have reason to feel nervous that their significant others know what they're getting into on the side, while women engaging in flings could have an easier time hiding their indiscretions from their mate. That's according to a recent study from the University of Western Australia. Published this week in the journal Biology Letters, the study found that women were reasonably accurate at determining how faithful a man had been in his life just by looking at his face. Men in the same study, meanwhile, showed no such skill, thereby living up to the stereotype that we're never paying attention to anything. Way to go, dudes. Read More
This is both adorable and encouraging: A group of eight- to ten-year-olds in England wrote and published a journal article in the very legit "high-powered" scientific journal Biology Letters. According to an excerpt from the article's abstract, the study covers "whether bees could learn to use the spatial relationships between colours to figure out which flowers [to visit]." With the exception of the abstract, the kids wrote the entire article themselves. What have our kids been doing lately? The 25 kids, who attend Blackawton Primary School in Devon, England, conducted the study through the educational science program, "i, scientist," which encourages children to conduct their own scientific research and is overseen by the kids' head teacher, David Strudwick, and neuroscientist Beau Lotto, whose son, Misha participated in the study. (There's a half-hour video about the program here.) The kids are officially "the youngest scientists to publish an article in a Royal Society journal."Read More