The critically endangered vaquita has survived in low numbers in its native Gulf of California for hundreds of thousands of years, a new genetic analysis has found. The study found little sign of inbreeding or other risks often associated with small populations.
Research Assistant Professor Dr Michael PITTMAN (Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory, Division of Earth and Planetary Science & Department of Earth Sciences) at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), recently showed that powered flight potential evolved at least three times and that many ancestors of close bird relatives neared the thresholds of powered flight potential, suggesting broad experimentation with wing-assisted locomotion before flight evolved.
A 14,000-year paleoecological reconstruction of the sub-Antarctic islands led by University of Maine researchers has found that seabird establishment occurred during a period of regional cooling 5,000 years ago. Their populations, in turn, shifted the Falkland Islands ecosystems through the deposit of high concentrations of guano that helped nourish tussac, produce peat and increase the incidence of fire.
By examining the poop of the fringe-lipped bat (Trachops cirrhosus), a team at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) encountered surprising results about its eating habits and foraging abilities.
Chimpanzee and human friendships show many parallels, according to new research published this week in Science by associate professor Martin Muller at The University of New Mexico Anthropology department, associate professor of Anthropology and co-director of the Comparative Human and Primate Physiology Center Melissa Emery Thompson, and their colleagues.
Despite having bat-like wings, two small dinosaurs, Yi and Ambopteryx, struggled to fly, only managing to glide clumsily between the trees where they lived, according to a new study led by an international team of researchers, including McGill University Professor Hans Larsson. Unable to compete with other tree-dwelling dinosaurs and early birds, they went extinct after just a few million years. The findings, published in iScience, support that dinosaurs evolved flight in several different ways before modern birds evolved.
Based on digital endocranial cast models the canine brain does not increase proportionally with body size. Researchers at ELTE Eötvös Loránd and Kaposvár University in Hungary reconstructed the surface morphology of 28 canine brains, including various dog breeds, wolves, coyotes, and jackals. The shortening of the facial skeleton greatly influences the ratio of certain brain regions, primarily the olfactory bulb and the frontal lobe. These changes might have profound implications for olfactory and problem-solving abilities.
The crocodiles that inhabited the coasts of North Africa during the late Miocene period embarked on a journey to Europe across what is now the Mediterranean basin. This is confirmed by the analysis of the first fossils of the Crocodylus genus in the Iberian Peninsula, found in the Valencian site of Venta del Moro between 1995 and 2006, and which are now being described for the first time.
Taking a look at generosity within the crow family reveals parallels with human evolution. Working together to raise offspring and increased tolerance towards group members contribute to the emergence of generous behavior among ravens, crows, magpies and company. Lisa Horn of the Department of Behavioral and Cognitive Biology found that the social life of corvids is a crucial factor for whether the birds act generously or not. The results have been published in "eLife".
When humans age, they tend to favor small circles of meaningful, already established friendships rather than seek new ones. People are also more likely to lean toward positive relationships rather than ones that bring tension or conflict. These behaviors were thought to be unique to humans but it turns out chimpanzees, one of our closest living relatives, have these traits, too. The study shows what's believed to be the first evidence of nonhuman animals actively selecting who they socialize with during aging.