Animal

Perfume of death

Smells can be compelling, and many animals use them quite deliberately as a means of communicating. When conflict arises between these animals and humans, we have developed ingenious ways to weaponise these signals and turn them against the offending animal.

Experts pull together against bird flu

The Common Ringed Plovers that reach southern Africa breed in the same area as the Red Knot, but their range extends to the extreme eastern end of Russia. It reaches us through the Middle East, and must cross the Sahara. The birds from the far east of Russia fly to Africa (there are no recoveries of ringed birds to prove this, but there is nowhere else they can go, says the ADU's Prof Les Underhill). Of all long-distance migrants apart from seabirds, these birds migrate the farthest.

Male cichlids transform as dominant rivals removed

In a new study of cichlid fish descended from others caught in East Africa's Lake Tanganika, scientists have made some surprising observations about how those animals respond to changes in their environments known as "social opportunities." Dr. Sabrina S. Burmeister, assistant professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's College of Arts and Sciences, and colleagues found that subordinate male fish underwent a radical and rapid transformation when more dominant males were removed.

How a zebra lost its stripes: Rapid evolution of the quagga

Current living zebras (top row), extinct quaggas (bottom row) DNA from museum samples of extinct animals is providing unexpected information on the extent and effect of the Ice Age as well as the path of species evolution, according to a report by scientists from Yale University, the Smithsonian Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. The quagga, Equus quagga , a South African relative of horses and zebras, having a front half with zebra-like stripes and a back section like a horse with no marking, became extinct about 100 years ago. The pelt from a quagga museum...

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